In this episode, Corrina Owens, Senior ABM Manager at Gong, explains the major misunderstandings and misconceptions around ABM, how companies need to shift their thinking around ABM's function, when B2B tech companies should consider an ABM motion, how she goes about understanding buyer groups, and the tactics she uses to infiltrate target accounts.
Adam: Corrina Owens, senior ABM manager at Gong, host of the Reveal Podcast, where you interview revenue experts and explore how they use revenue intelligence and quite an established leader in the B2B tech, sales and marketing spaces just in general.
I'm really excited to have you on the podcast today. Thanks for joining me. How are you doing?
Corrina: I'm doing great, Adam. It's a Friday. I'm talking to you. Things are, things are all looking good all up from here.
Things are looking up. Yeah. It's always, I always enjoy recording on Friday because it just kind of lightens the mood a little bit.
Oh, a hundred percent. A hundred percent.
Adam: Do people actually work on Fridays? I don't know. Should we, should we get a three-day weekend going? I think they really don't. And I think that people need to come to the realization that people finish their jobs like on Tuesday.
Alright. At least perhaps the overachiever in us. I'm working towards becoming one of those like you. But, yeah, thanks for coming on Corrina. I've been following you for a little while now and what you're posting on LinkedIn. I just absolutely love it. All the things around marketing and sales and go-to-market alignment, but also women empowerment and career development.
It's just a refreshing take to see that content pop up. Compared to all the platitudes that we usually see sliding across our LinkedIn channel. So, thank you for that. We're obviously gonna be focused on ABM today, ABM strategy. So, if we can just start there at a high level, we can just take a step back.
I wanna learn about you, how you found your way to ABM and Gong. Really, if you'd like to start there.
Corrina: Yeah. Well, and thank you for calling that out, Adam. It means a lot, especially coming from a male to appreciate my posts around what more we can do for female empowerment.
So thank you for being a true ally there. Yeah, so how I found my way to ABM, you know, I've been in the business for a little over a decade now of B2B, a little bit of B2C. But just tech in general and always in the realm of marketing or selling. I've been a quota carrier before.
It was awesome when I won deals, it sucked when I didn't, and I'm really not good at kissing ass. So I realized I couldn't do that forever. So I pivoted. I stated I went back to marketing and it had always been very centered around how technology wanted you to think about success, right? Like MQL. And, SQLs for success, right? So there's all these terminology and vernaculars that we use, and I always had a mindset of, well, I know my business better than anybody, right? I'm that marketer, and I'm gonna talk to the people who know their problems more than anybody, and that's my customers.
And so I've built my demand capture generation strategies always from that starting point and then evaluated tech secondary. The way I actually started in ABM was at a company that was a SaaS company, and I actually knew that I couldn't present it to them with the vernacular of ABM because in their minds that already had an association of expensive tool tech stack that we're gonna have to have a new budget line for, et cetera.
So I was just very grassroots about it. I just said, Hey, I've been noticing at these companies, like they're really having a lot of high intent, not just on our first-party website, which is the most important intent data. But they're liking our LinkedIn page, they're liking some of our influencers inside our companies.
Like maybe we should spend our time focusing on this set of companies. We'll just draw on a mini campaign. So we ran a mini LinkedIn campaign, a conversational ad just to get booked meetings and found some success. In essence, that's a small mini ABM campaign. So I then had the opportunity to actually run both, not demand generation, but also ABM because when 2020 happened, everything moved to digital, right?
Like, nobody could count on these old school trade booths anymore. We all had to find a way to start connecting with one another. LinkedIn, not just for marketing and sales, but it became the hub of professionals to connect with one another. So, I guess I'm saying all that to say that strategies like ABM, because that's what it should be seen as, as it should be seen as a go-to-market strategy, became really important to a lot of companies and a lot of VCs.
That's how I found my way to ABM, and then Gong was a very pleasant surprise because I had always been a major fangirl because I had been selling and marketing boring software my entire career, and they actually are not boring. I love their user interface. I love the way they went to market.
I love that they were inclusive in the way they went to market. And I thought that was very bold and very brave. And that, to me, I really hung my head on as a brand to admire and aspire to be a part of. When I got the call for an opportunity, it was like an out-of-body experience on a beach.
I was like, holy crap, I gotta take this seriously. And yeah. Now here I am at Gong.
Adam: Thank you for taking me through that. Yeah. Gong is the gold standard, and I can imagine how excited you were when you got that call, but you obviously deserved it. I would love to eventually talk about some of the successful campaigns if you're able to get granular there.
But, if we can start at a high level, I wanna frame this question with just the general reality of B2B SaaS. Hyper-competitive, right? Absolutely. Whether you're in MarTech, sales, tech, what have you, it's pretty much like markets are smaller now and they're shrinking.
And that's obviously a backdrop that we all have to consider here. Longer sales cycles, while they're harder to open. Yep. Larger buyer groups. I'm curious if you're seeing that too. Depending on who you talk to, it sounds like these buyer groups are getting larger also because, from what I'm assuming, it's just that companies don't wanna make any bad fit purchases.
And then behind all of that is this truth of the dark funnel and dark social. And we're like 75% of the journey is being happening behind the scenes. So, I wanna tee you up here. Okay, because I wanna make sure that we're covering the most pressing things.
But given this backdrop, given this economic reality, what are the biggest misunderstandings, misconceptions around ABM? Maybe it's like the top three to five that you have, but curious if you wanna start.
Corrina: Well, first off, I love the way you framed the question because something big has to happen in someone's personal life or in a business to make a change for them to really pay attention.
Right. And I think when we had that digital boom of digital sales, Gong was like, flying by the seat of their pants, so you know, cashed in the bank like a lot of people. And then other people started to invest in the similar category and then became much more competitive. And now we're in a landscape where people are getting slashed with budgets, and that includes people and that includes technology.
And does it matter if you're best in class anymore? Probably not, right? Like, probably not. For most organizations, it matters on did you deliver an ROI? Are you making it like, have we adopted your product properly? Are we using it to its fullest potential? So it's really on the onus of companies now to take a really good, hard look at their current staff of customers and how are they utilizing your product?
Because there is nothing harder than winning a net new. Right? You've already put in the work to win a current customer, that's where you need to focus. And so for ABM as a strategy, I'm very grateful that we are now looking at it as a more holistic customer lifecycle, right? Not just net new and land and pass off, but more like we are there from end to end.
It's always on. I think the biggest misconception about ABM, to answer your other question, is that it's a silver bullet. And it's not. It's something that takes time. It's something that takes deep research and understanding, and it's something that you can pivot from. So I've been at companies where they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on research thinking that this was the right vertical, their product was a right market fit, and we did all the legwork upfront, creating all this custom content, all these custom programs.
Only to find out that no, we were not a market fit. We were not solving their needs. It was way too niche of what they needed and we couldn't serve that for them, no matter the kind of experience or ease of sale, which is what we also aim to do with ABM. But that's where you then become the strategic partner to your C-level suite, is that you deliver the hard truth of your go-to-market strategy and if it's working or if it's not.
I think some other misconceptions are that we keep changing the acronym all the time. It's ABM, it's ABX. It's just good marketing. It's focused marketing and it's marketing that is probably the most cross-collaborative function within marketing or in some organizations period.
When I'm going to start building out an account list with my sales team, I'm part of their tiering process, right? Like I'm part of the way they're thinking about going to market. I bring in data because I think the best marketers, especially account-based marketers, are the ones that are stewards of account data.
So part of that is me helping inform that strategy. And then part of it is agreeing that, okay, we agreed on the accounts. Now I need you to agree to what matters and when we're going to measure and what we're going to measure. Because I need to set expectations that just because I am putting them in these programs, I'm not delivering you revenue tomorrow, there's going to be time. So I always talk to people about setting really clear expectations on what this program launch gonna look like. One of those elements. And feel free to Adam, to stop me at any time if I'm rambling off in a wrong direction. Keep going. Okay. One of those elements is. It shocks me that not enough people do it, but having a control group, so a set of lookalike accounts, right?
So you have your accounts, so you clearly say these are ABM target must-win accounts, but you need to have a control group of accounts to compare it to. Because otherwise, sales is just gonna say to you, well duh, we should have totally won that account. It had the best sales rep, it's the best market fit, et cetera, et cetera.
So what we do is we create those, we agree to those top accounts, but then we also do some data to say, Hey, here's some accounts that look just like this account. It doesn't mean they're not gonna get to serve demand generation programs. It doesn't mean we're not gonna try and gain their business, but they're not gonna get that extra flavor of ABM treatment program, budget spend, or even my resources as an example.
Gotcha. And that helps us to show that Yes. I mean last QBR, I had around it, everything was up. Not only was our engagement on the website, like massively increased over 200%, we had booked more meetings, opened more opportunities, we had a higher deal velocity. So deals moved faster through the funnel and they had a higher ACV.
So it validates for us that yes, we chose the right accounts. Two, we did programs that helped convert that and we can, you know, point to a time into where they maybe went to a virtual round table and then the next day they got a meeting with the VP. That's a huge data point that's important to look at.
So we went off on a little rant there, but the biggest thing is to me with ABM is overcoming with people that it's not a silver bullet, it's a go-to-market strategy, and it involves buy-in of several departments. And some of the departments that I think we miss the most often is all you hear is sales marketing, sales marketing.
There's product marketing I need, like if I'm working in technology, I've gotta be aligned with when those product releases are coming out because that's really important to the campaigns I'm gonna plan around. Also, the CEO, that sounds extreme, but if my CEO can't say and explain to me what ABM means at Gong or any company I work at, then we're really not set up for the best success.
Right. It's gotta be a top-down approach with your go-to-market strategy. And I firmly believe that the CEO owns that and ABM is a part of a go-to-market strategy.
Adam: Gotcha. Yeah. I'm curious to explore how specifically ABM does fit into your go-to-market practice. But I wanna lean into an obvious point, that I think kind of or question that I believe irks you when it's ever asked.
I wanna start there. One of the things that you mentioned in other interviews is, is ABM for everybody. And it seems like it's obviously it is, right? Like this is not an either or. This is a foundational go-to-market strategy, right? Absolutely. Anything you want to add there?
Corrina: Yeah, I finally expressed in an interview, like my frustration of the question being asked of me, and it's now becoming like a topic that I've seen popped up on LinkedIn. Yeah, this is what people are missing. It's not a piece of technology, it's not just a campaign. It is a full-fledged go-to-market strategy about how we are going to approach the market to win business and to maintain business.
And that's why I also tell people that you don't need to. A lot of people, when somebody says, Hey, we wanna do ABM, go research, go out there, they go to the top five big vendors. And I tell them, I'm like, they're not there to inform your strategy. They're there to deploy ads or whatever other element of their program they can do.
They're not there to inform your strategy. So you can do ABM in Google Sheets. You can do ABM just out of like a LinkedIn ad campaign. You can do an in-person event like that can be part of an ABM tactic in your programs. So ABM absolutely is for everybody, and it's all about how are you going to market me?
That's really what it is. And when you silo it, right, when you silo ABM into a vacuum in marketing and you don't get clear buy-in and buy-off from sales and product and the C-suite, then you are going to likely fail because they don't understand fundamentally what it means. There was another great post, it was talking about, Hey, your CEO asks you like, how many MQs came in this quarter? Like, you need to reframe the questions for these people that don't understand your discipline.
So that you're framing it in a sense that it's a business problem. Yes, I hear you. CEO, you want a certain number of volume to show the board, to show that you're having success, to show that it's gonna lead to this conversion, et cetera, et cetera. But there are so many layers to unpack, right, to get to that end result.
And if ABM is exactly the same way, there are so many things we have to do to earn the trust, understand the buying group, build the buying group, go through the security process, make sure we've got those raving fans. Like there is just so much to unpack. And if we limit our conversations with the people that ultimately can hire or fire us to just acronyms and not explain to them how they're actually like business problems you're solving, then we're really risking the integrity of our discipline.
Adam: Totally, beautifully said. I think going back to the technology aspect of it, there was a line that's floating around that I really love, and it's a tool, or sorry, a fool with a tool is still a fool.
Right. You see, you need Absolutely. You need the strategy behind it. So one of the things that I want to get your input on, and it kind of highlights the transition from ABM to abx, right? ABM, ABM, whatever you wanna call it. It's a full funnel. It's a full journey experience, right?
Acquisition, activation, retention, evangelism, what have you. How do you work with the other go-to-market teams? Because to me it seems like it's easy to step on toes, whether it's working with the marketing team, the sales team, the customer success team.
The way that you explain it sounds like you are an advisor to these groups, or they feed you with information that then you run with to, to kind of, I guess, land and expand, if you will. I'm just seeing a lot of overlap between departments. I'm curious how you navigate that.
Corrina: Yeah. It's funny you asked me that too because I had somebody from the leadership team.
He took notice of a newsletter I send out every month to the entire enterprise unit here at Gong, and it's just three things. It's what's new, what's working, and what's next. And I've been doing it since I started Gong. And he was like, this is amazing. Where do you source this? I'm like, From everybody.
Like I have to be involved in every department to know how my outbound team is performing, to know how my inbound team is performing, to know how my client success teams are performing with these accounts to really get a true understanding of where the customer is at in their journey so that I can continue to advocate for them.
So what's very important to me about any organization that I step into is that there are clear business goals and objectives and who aligns to what. And ABM is very well suited to be like a spiderweb across all of those different goals. And so what I try to do, and this is a very simplistic answer and maybe not gonna satisfy you, but in my whole career, if I've ever wanted to get something done for me, I've had to know what's in it for them.
So what are their goals, what are their KPIs, what are their metrics? And then how can I get my ask by aligning it to what they have to get done too. So it's a very science-like way to interact with other people. And that's typically what gets me through the doors. There's a lot I do that could be seen as stepping on another's toes.
But the art of it is that hey, we, I'll give you an example. Win loss survey calls are some of my most favorite things to do. And I always make sure, I've always made sure in my career that the buying group doesn't meet me or any marketers. Once you're a customer, you meet us.
Period. Like, from when you want to talk to us, you're aware of who we are. You're creating stickiness, right? And there's, and marketers are all about building relationships. So I've run, I run those calls right at past companies. I have a here at Gong. It's a very simple call. Like what was this process like for you? What ultimately made you want to choose our solution? And what's funny is that's so much more powerful for sales than a long four-page ROI case study. Like that's what sales needs to get deals over the line, the simplicity of it all. Like what problem did you have and why was it that this company or this solution, why was it them that made you be like, yep, sold? And too often I think in other departments, like customer marketing, that's probably the one that I could step on the most, right? Because I'm entering the journey way before them. I already know who these people are. I've already had them on events. I've already had them give testimonials.
But what does that do? That arms them with an entryway to getting them to their own marquee events faster, to be on keynotes or to do that ROI case study. So, I overshare, and I do it with the intention of like, this is the best thing for the customer and this is the best thing for the rest of my team. Does it mean I work harder? Yeah. But it's the right thing to do and it serves all of us. And ever since, anytime I do that, it's insane. Like the customer is instantly involved with us, and they've barely been a client for three months. Like, we'll get a testimonial, we'll get them at an event because you've been treating them like a customer this whole time, because there's so much more to the success of case studies and ROIs are so archaic to me, the way we still do them, right?
You're going back to your dark social and word of mouth. Like when you think about going to your next company, Adam, let's say you never, let's say you don't say Atack forever, right? I, if you go to another company, you're gonna remember the people that you worked with at those companies or those vendors or those technologies, right?
And you're gonna wanna take them with you. So it's the life cycle of the customer is just never-ending. So yeah, that was a long-winded way of saying, "Do not wait to enter." No, as a marketer, do not wait to enter an account, like start that relationship because that creates the stickiness and that actually takes a lot of burden off of the salespeople who have to worry about hitting their quota and have to worry about making sure they were new, right?
Like you're creating an authentic relationship, and that looks like submitting them for awards or putting them on the stage on a spotlight, or putting them on a podcast, etc. But too often I just see marketers just sit there and wait until it's been three years and we can say that we've done X, Y, and Z, and fantastic. They don't know who you are. They don't have the relationship. You could have done so much more with them. So anyways, that's my rant.
No, I appreciate it. And just hooking onto a specific point, that's one of your favorite plays, keeping track, keeping a pulse on who's moving companies.
Yes. And it's not even like there's a tool that I use. I think it's User Gems, is that what it is? Correct, yes. User Gems. Right. Tell me a little bit more about this because just that fact alone, I think it's really insightful and very clever. But then it's also not even a salesy approach when you get back in touch with them.
Right. Can you tell me about that?
No, I would love to. It's one of our best plays here. And it's definitely sales' favorite intent data signal. So we work with User Gems, and I'm so fortunate that they're willing to partner with us on product development and enhancement in different ways of thinking of it.
So we started with just thinking about how to break into net new accounts, right? So last year, I think we had champions change jobs, even up to three times in one year. Just because of how volatile things have been. And so do I trust that my LinkedIn, my sales guy is gonna update his LinkedIn sales navigator sheet on his own?
No. I don't. Do I trust a tool that does that automatically for me? Yes. Also, because I've told them who's important to me. I've told them if they're a signer of the deal, I've told them if they're a power user of the tool, I've told them if they never use the tool and we're actually maybe even a naysayer of the tool, right?
So we have all this information armed with us when we're going into the net new account. But for the ones that are champions, we put them in a sequence, and I do hate using the word sequence, but it's a sequence that's intended to be personalized. But it's all give, we congratulate them right away.
We say we're gonna miss them, but we know that they're gonna have continued success. It then continues throughout the drip just by giving things like 90-day first things to do, 90 days as a revenue leader. Just nothing but helpful content. But we actually get the first replies on the gift sent by saying, congratulations, sending the gift your way.
We'll miss you, but you know, we're rooting for you. And we've gotten very kind marketing things like, oh my God, I'm sending this to my marketing team and having them steal this. And then we've also got things like, I wanna talk on Tuesday at 9:00 AM to fill you in on how we're going to sell the deal together.
That's huge, right? That's awesome. Yeah, that's huge.
One of those people, one of those champions that moved jobs, they even had it written in their contract, like, hey, I am coming to this new job, but I am going to be able to implement Gong as a solution. That's awesome. Yeah. So their alone gives you, like, that's why you need to treat your customers.
I mean, there's no better testimonial for me than that. And now we're thinking about it in a new way, which, you know, I think churn is on everybody's mind, right? So we're doing a lot of data to see who's at our account but isn't active, using our tool, right?
Like, how many licenses are on the table that aren't maybe being utilized or underutilized? How many people have we not identified within a certain group that have access to this tool but are in the system? And so we're using User Gems for that too, to help us identify that so that we can then build the champions, right?
So the first example I shared with you was like following the champions and maintaining them in a new account. This one is actually like we got the account, but we haven't built the champion or may. And then that's how we surface the data of them helping us pull in like, Hey, you don't have this X new contact that just moved in, and you have seats and licenses for this division.
Let's talk to them. Let's get engaged. So there are many different ways that we look at champions. Both in the sense of maintaining tabs on them, but also creating them because we are finding that churn is important now more than ever, and our champion may not be able to get us at their new company just because of the volatility of the market.
So now it's our job to actually really stay laser-focused on what are the champions we haven't identified yet, and how do we fill that white space?
That mentality needs to be always on. If you are always delivering value and trust to your customers, like they are gonna want to take you with you. Yeah.
Cool. Thanks for taking me through that. What I'd like to dive into now is the buyer group. And I'm curious how you go about understanding the buyer group.
Let's say you have a target of a hundred companies, what have you, what's your process and understanding everything that needs to go on in each account specifically? Because I think this is one of the big misunderstandings in ABM. It's like, okay, cool, you have a target account, cool, you have an awesome piece of content.
And then they just try to infiltrate that company with that one piece of content, but there are multiple people playing multiple roles. Curious what your process is there.
So that's probably one of the hardest groups that I've found myself having to work with.
If I didn't own, like, if I wasn't, if they didn't fall under my umbrella, it's content, right? Buying groups are complex, and a lot of times companies can produce content that solely focuses on IC or even just heavily set focus on themselves, right? Like, so there's, there's a lot of brand-centric content and not just letting the voice of the customer be the content.
Segmentation is a really big deal for ABM. We're really good at breaking into different buying groups because we are trying to be intentional about our segmentation, about who we're sending our message to and what it is and when. One of the ways we do it, just as a tactical example, is we'll have somebody that's a huge champion, but another group that we're wanting to get into is not about it.
And then we'll do a little sizzle reel and Gong of the people being like, Hey, I feel you. I used to be afraid of it. I used to think it was Big Brother, but now I use it every day. This is how I use it, blah, blah, blah. Like, it's changed my life. Like I can't imagine Gong without it. And we'll send it to the other buying groups just to show them like, Hey, no, your own peers are your own company.
Like, they enjoy it and they get it. Like they understand the same pain points that you had or the same fears that you had. So that's like one piece of content that I can really control. But there is a lot that ABM has to do, and this has to start at the top. Content, like head of contents, have to have a very strategic plan at the start of the year of who are we going after and why, and why are we going to support that, and that needs to align with ABM and who their target accounts are.
If my target accounts don't have a customer success group or if that's not our target audience, that's not gonna be a great fit. If you're telling me that we are gonna heavily go after recruiting in HR and finance, but that's not what my account, like, that's not gonna be a great fit for me.
I'm gonna have to build a lot of my own content. So what I've tried to do is I've tried to show the content teams that we're here to elevate their content, and that we actually get feedback back from the field on what's resonating and what's not resonating.
And so I can even with Gong see that like the way we presented one research study, like on in one visual style versus another style. So like an AB test of a slide resonated better. So that even alone is gonna help you get more downloads, more attribution, proving that you're helping like go through the, you know, you're taking the deal through the funnel.
But it's a lot of negotiation with the content teams because they are not as revenue-centric. ABM is a very revenue-centric function. And that's why it's so crucial that I ask every leader at every company I join, like, what are the top-level KPIs for the company? Where does that then fall under marketing?
And then where does that fall under each group? And does everybody have that visibility? Because it's super important that they realize that what you're doing over here is going to affect over here. And if you're not doing that, somebody's gonna have to end up doing more work than they need to. And it's just probably not necessary.
Totally. So you spoke about content that you don't necessarily have control over. I'm curious about the campaigns and content that you do have control over, again, referring back to that target list of accounts, what channels, like, how are you reaching out?
Is it mostly LinkedIn ads? Is it, uh, you're obviously big into zero-click content. You mentioned sequences. I guess kind of in that arena, what are the best tips and tricks that you can provide as far as if you were talking to other ABM teams?
Yeah. A lot of what we do, field marketing gets leap into ABM a lot, but a lot of what we do is we try to create micro communities of like-minded peers to connect and do round time, round table type of conversations about their biggest pain points and what they're going through.
Our targeted ads are actually incredibly targeted to be using the exact words and phrasings that we've learned from listening to calls or being in meetings that gotcha, we know are going to address their business problems. We create basically a microsite for the entire buying group.
So everybody can log in securely and find the resources that you need to reference and review that are gonna be helpful for you to get onboarded or what have you. But I think the biggest thing when it comes to content and channels, there's I definitely believe in fewer channels with ABM and being more focused on just where they're living and breathing and consuming their own content and going there.
Not forcing them to come to where we want them to go. And then when it comes to shaping what kind of content, so if that's through a distribution channel of ads or emails or what have you, that it's using their verbiage. And I think that's probably the biggest difference of what you'll see when it comes to positioning between just general marketing and ABM marketing.
Gotcha. You mentioned the microsite, and this is a perfect transition. I imagine we're transitioning into the area where you probably don't have as much control, but you probably have requests or expectations.
So tell me about the microsite. At my last agency, I actually explored this a little bit. We were going after Fortune 500 companies and we created this landing page that spoke specifically to that company. And if there were any kind of case studies that we had, but like you said, it was essentially a microsite.
They didn't have any reason to go to the other website because we just assumed that they already knew what it was. What do you look for in those microsites? That's my question.
Sure. A lot of it has to do actually with knowing who their account team is.
So it's very visible who they can reach out to for what and how. There's often welcome videos, so a welcome video from either our CEO or their sales leader. But we make it very clear to them that we know their five must like can't miss initiatives, right? And then we align our content to help serve that.
I've done microsites before for even just one individual. So what was this SVP of Sales individual's goals for the year and how can I provide her with content that's gonna make it easier and easier and easier? And she wasn't a customer yet, so that just involved me doing my due diligence and research to find yes gone content, of course, but also outside third-party research to help her to reach those goals.
I think if you always take it back to, you are thinking like a seller. You're thinking like, how can I solve your problem and how can I make it stupid, simple, easy for you to understand that I know and I heard your problem and I'm showing you that, and I'm showing you that by way of providing you with resources like a microsite or communities where you can connect with peers that are like-minded, like you on your own without my intervention.
Giving you opportunities that you wouldn't already have opportunities to have. Like maybe speak to a Gartner analyst, right? That's a pretty non-self-serving tactic, right? To say, "Hey, use one of our Gartner service hours, so go talk to a Gartner service professional. Like, don't pay, you don't have to pay for it. You go talk to them about revenue intelligence." So I think again, it's the serve mentality of if you hyperfocus on what is most important to the individual, the signer, the buyer, the buying committee within, that's the best you can do.
It doesn't have to be, I would do it iteratively too, right? Because if you start customizing all your programs all at once, you're doing yourself a little bit of a disservice because you could be wrong in making assumptions. And so it's better to do soft drips over time. The more you learn about the account and the person and how they tick and what's important to them and what matters to them and be very adaptable to change.
Now more than ever, we've had to be adaptable. Like, entire groups and companies are getting cut. So we have to now adapt to how are we gonna fill all the needs they were doing, how are we now gonna fill that elsewhere? So, yeah, it's a lot of listening. And I think the best thing that any marketer or salesperson can do right now is to not shove something in your face.
This is not quite ABMish, but you know, I think people make a lot of assumptions, and I know sellers are asked a lot these days, especially now more than ever, and they're under a lot of pressure. But when they get rejected these days, I've been noticing that the rejection's kind of getting amplified, like on social media platforms like LinkedIn, for example, and they'll openly criticize an individual for being like, "No, I don't wanna talk to you on the phone. Like I told you twice now." And then they'll be like, "Well, is that what you would say to your own team?"
And it's like, that's very accusatory. And this isn't the time to make assumptions about anything, anybody. I don't know what you're going through, Adam. Like I only know you through this medium. And just because Gong may have taught me that this is the way to sell doesn't mean it's the way to sell to Adam.
So there's so much listening and questions that we can be asking and asking them with good intent is going to be the way to build and maintain that trust and that relationship. And that's really what all of marketing boils down to is, do you trust this brand? Do you trust this company implicitly? And you do that by being very intentional about your interactions with them.
Wonderfully said. This might be a redundant question. Let me know. But I kind of in the same vein thinking about the entire buyer journey from acquisition through to all the way through evangelism, what, to you, what are the weaknesses of most B2B tech/tech SaaS websites?
What do you wish you saw more of that would either help you indirectly in your ABM campaigns or help you better reach out to your targets?
Well, I would love to see less jargon. I would love people to just be very direct in their messaging and where to find things. There's enough technology out there to know. It's just a little bit of laziness on our parts as businesses to force people down a funnel and a buying journey and process that we want to work for us but clearly doesn't work for anybody else.
So I would love to see a future where we're all a lot more like concierges to our buyers, giving you the opportunity to explore what you want to explore and, hey, I'm here if you need me, but I can answer your question, but I'm not gonna shove it down your throat that you have to click this button all the way at the bottom of the page, fill out all these contact details, wait for an hour to four hours for somebody to reach out to then ping you and ask you a bunch of questions instead of the other way around to then maybe qualify you to finally get you to see a product or a demo.
It's just maddening to me. We know how human psychology works and we know how things work in our modern lives. Look how we use our own smartphones. Look how we interact with the rest of the world. B2B is just so behind in what it's like to be a consumer. And when our expectations aren't met in the way they are in the rest of the way we interact with the world, it just creates a very friction-filled process.
So just make it stupid, simple, easy for your site to be where they can buy and talk to your people. And remove those barriers because those barriers are there because other tech companies are profiting off of those barriers. They're profiting off of the Calendly links, the automatic schedule, the chatbot with the multiple options.
Like, really, really, really dial it back and think about how can I make it so simple for somebody to talk to me and disqualify or qualify me and let's move on. It's just the pain that endures with that doesn't help your brand loyalty, that doesn't help your reputation in the market.
It's only serving reporting metrics that nobody's probably even looking at or has really properly implemented. So, I would say just make your websites something that looks like people, things that people interact with every day. Like, I go to my Apple podcast, it's super easy for me to search literally anything I want, and I get it done.
Think about it, like Google, think about it, like look at ChatGPT. Just make these things simple. Make it easy for people. I don't know, I don't sound that intelligent, and that's fine, but...
No, you do that. You just went in the direction that I wanted to go.
And this is the last question that I had. Before we get into some rapid-fire questions. This is actually what we were talking about, I think we're gonna be talking about on your podcast, but the quote that you just said that I latched onto is, how can we make it simple for somebody to talk to me?
Yeah. The first thing that comes to mind is, well, give them something that they need, right? Give them something that's gonna make their lives easier. Give them something that's gonna help them get their job done. And this is something we've been exploring here at Web Stacks, is this idea of the job that is to be done, that they're trying to complete.
And specifically website tools. And you mentioned ChatGPT, WDO. To you, would it be easier? Would it help you in your campaigns if the website had a suite of free website tools that helped your targets calculate something or generates something? Or maybe there's an SOP or a template that you can offer where it's not, here is a product that I want you to schedule a demo or get a free trial.
But here is a free tool that will help you get something done. And if you have any questions later down the road, let me know about it. Does that question make sense?
Yes, because I can learn how you're using it, right? That's what so many people are missing, PLG motions like that.
I can go behind the scenes and see how easy it was for them to get there. How many clicks did it have to take for them to get what they want? And did it even give them what they want? That's just free data. Why wouldn't we want that? Do we really need the email address? Do we really need the first name, last name, company title, phone number, blah, blah, blah?
No. And is it really that scary for somebody to have access to your product so they can better understand it? Is it that scary? Why are you out to market? I've had to spend most of my career convincing CEOs that other people are showing your tool around.
Eliminate the fear of that and embrace your consumer, your future customer, actually getting to experience it, quickly. And then learn what works for them. Learn what didn't work, learn what you could tweak. That's a gift on both ends. And I think so many people are forgetting that about PLG, that you're probably gonna optimize the experience and your pocket if you just let them in the door, the way they wanna be let in the door.
Beautifully said. Corrina, this has been awesome. Thank you so much. This is always abms just one of those things that I'm generally thinking about, but I never really get a chance to truly practice. So this has been a lot of fun just picking your brain around this.
And I'm gonna be taking a lot of this stuff internally. Just a couple quickfire questions here. Are you gonna be partaking in any upcoming events, virtual or in person that you would like listeners to know about?
Yes, I am. The one I'm most excited about is this creator's retreat. I don't know how it's being called, but Nick from Airme and a few other folks have worked really hard on creating a new way to conference and network.
And they're taking creators out to Costa Rica for a small, intimate, hopefully not cult-like ceremony. But I've watched too many cult documentaries. That's just where my brain goes. But the point of it is to remove the booths, remove the forced advertising, and just chat with each other.
And we're doing that already through dark social, right. But let's do it in person. And I'm amazed at what Nick Bennett has been able to do to get people to sponsor this, to pay for creators to go out, and have the vendors not be there, and have us just do our thing with people that they want to buy their products.
So that's happening in November. I can probably share a link soon for you to share in the show notes. But that's what I'm most excited about. I'm excited about trying new things. And I think when you stifle conversation and you don't wanna hear what you don't wanna hear, that's where innovation goes to die.
And I'm just not about that lifestyle. And so I'm so glad that I do know other like-minded people in my space who are able to make moves happen that I haven't quite yet been able to make happen.
That's awesome. Yeah, I hope that turns out to be a really cool event. Yeah, Nick Bennett's a great voice in the space.
I think there's a bright future. Just the whole group, your whole group, a lot of cool stuff. It's fun to watch you guys interact on Dan and just idea off each other. But yeah, there's a bright future in B2B marketing. Where can listeners get a hold of you?
LinkedIn, right? Just reach out on LinkedIn.
Reach on LinkedIn. I am so giving of my time and I am so authentically me, for good or bad. So when you get it, you're just gonna get me no matter what. And then also TikTok. I am a little quirkier on there. So I don't know. Some people like it, some people don't. But you can find me there, featuring underscore Corrina. But yeah, I'm always happy to connect and share stories and just learn from you too. Thanks for having me on, Adam. It's been great to talk to you. Hopefully your listeners enjoy us.
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