Ep. 31 – Interview w/ Brian Giese

How Intent Data is Driving B2B Companies Towards Better and More Positive Growth

EP 31 - Brian Giese

We have an intensive, engaging and informative discussion with Brian Giese (Chief Executive Officer, True Influence) about the dynamic intent data landscape for B2B. On this week’s interview, Brian explains to us why qualified and accurate data are important not just for sales and marketing, but for the organization as a whole. He also discusses how quality data can make a positive impact on organizations, and why it’s important to continuously improve, motivate and engage teams during times of crisis in order to move the business forward.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • How True Influence is using high quality, accurate data to drive leads. [4:46]
  • How Brian and his team have successfully mitigated the recent crisis through implementing a 90-days no layoff policy and a series of actions to keep the company afloat. [13:00]
  • Brian’s point of view: ABM is going to evolve into something else. [26:05]
  • Brian elaborates on a case where sophisticated marketers can leverage data provided to generate great ROI. [34:37]
  • The potential of quality data is unlimited – from driving leads, to HR management, to investment opportunity. [43:07]

Companies, persons & links mentioned in this episode:



Christian Klepp, Brian Giese

Christian Klepp  00:08

Hi, and welcome to the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast. I’m your host, Christian Klepp, and one of the founders of EINBLICK Consulting. Our goal is to share inspirational stories, tips and insights from b2b marketers, digital entrepreneurs, and industry experts that will help you to think differently, succeed and scale your business.

Alright, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast. I’m your host, Christian Klepp. And today, I’m both thrilled and honored to welcome the guests into the show, who is a true influencer in his own right. He’s the winner of the 2019 B2B Innovator People’s Choice Award, and his business as well as the solutions they provide, give fortune 500 companies a competitive edge for demand generation. So without further ado, Mr. Brian Giese, welcome to the show.

Brian Giese  00:57

Thanks you, Christian. I appreciate you having me.

Christian Klepp  01:00

We’re really thrilled to have you on the show. So let’s just get started. And, you know, just tell the listeners a little bit about yourself and what motivated you to start your company True Influence because there’s definitely a great story there.

Brian Giese  01:12

Sure thing. So appreciate that. And we’ve been in business since 2008. I started it with RK Maniyani, who is a good friend who had a marketing automation platform. He’s our CTO now, in fact, over 12 years. And we had this dream of automating the internet, to become like, a marketing automation for the entire world. Right. So rather than using an automation system, just for your, just for your website, you’re pulling signals from all over the world. That was the dream in the beginning. And it’s actually happening today. So, you know, we’re 12 year old company, about 300 full time employees. We’re, you know, profitable for eight years in a row. We’re privately funded, you know, the company’s doing fantastic. And we’re just, we’re just, we’re proud of what we’ve done. And we’re, we’re very performance oriented. So we care a lot about our customers. We focus on that. So. That’s sort of the short story.

Christian Klepp  02:20

And what a fantastic story, Brian, I mean, not every company can brag about, like, you know, that they’re that they’re doing well, and that they’re profitable, especially under the current circumstances. That’s not always a given, right?

Brian Giese  02:30

I totally get it. Yeah.

Christian Klepp  02:32

Yeah. And if I, if I understood you correctly, you were talking about automating the internet before that was actually a thing. Am I right to say that?

Brian Giese  02:39

I think it is. I mean, it was… you know, both RK ad I come from marketing automation jobs, and yeah, we grew up with Eloqua, Marketo, those kind of products and Pardot now Salesforce. And the idea was, at the time, if we could see the footprints of the people all over the world and associate them to the topics of interest that they’re actually looking while they walk across the internet, if you will. And we could push that data into a marketing automation platform, whereby they would then be nurtured, that would be interesting. Because a part of what a marketing automation does is they can see us on my website by name. And it can tell you what their interests are, that become leads. So we’ve actually done it for the world. So we can see people by company and by name, who are interested in a series of 7000 or so topics that we have categorized within our database. And we’re using data to drive leads, right, so we can actually email the right person at the right time, which is what marketing automation is intended to be. Right. So we’re not a replacement for Eloqua. We’re an enhancement to it. And we call that ‘intent’, you’ve probably heard that word. We created that. And we sort of invented that term, and it stuck this point.

Christian Klepp  04:12

Okay. Well, you brought up a really interesting point about data, which we’re gonna talk about later on. But Brian, you know, you’re in a very lucrative and continuously evolving space. And, you know, as you’ve rightly alluded to, in the past couple of minutes, b2b marketing automation software, and also the business of providing customers with I believe it was something you mentioned in a previous interview, it’s qualified and accurate data. So talk to us about how you’ve seen the space evolve since your company’s inception.

Brian Giese  04:46

Yeah. Well, you know, data is always the genesis of pretty much everything that marketers do since the inception of the internet, right? It’s all about data and the quality of the data is critical path. So you know, we figured out ways of triple checking the data for accuracy. In fact, I own the word triple check. I don’t know if that, I mean, we actually trademarked that word a bunch of years ago. And it’s so important to the core of our company to be able to own that and to be able to do it properly. So, you know, when you get data from us, it’s going to be, you know, 100%. And when you get a lead from us, which is simply data, it’s a contact record, you know, hey call this guy, he’s interested in your company, your products, your topic, it has to be accurate. And so getting that to accuracy with millions of leads a year that we’re providing, is no small task. So it’s a combination really of three things, it’s social media, it’s technology behind the scenes, and it’s people that are actually triple checking this information for accuracy, the key is our processes can do it immediately. So it’s enabled, you know, if you, if you order 1000s of leads from us, we could do it overnight, if you want us to do it that way. Or we can set it up where you get it over time. So it’s those levers and buttons that marketers need to be able to get accurate data at the right time. Let’s say you have five sales reps, and another company has 500, your appetite for leads is going to be quite different. So yes, you have to be able to turn it on and turn it off at the right times. We know exactly how to do that. We have developed technology that can do that. And that took a bunch of years, you know, to figure out in the early days. Now we’re scaling.

You know, we started literally in a garage. And my garage was in Bethesda, Maryland, and RK was in Bangalore, India. And by the way, we didn’t even meet, you know, for two years while we developed the system. I mean, we talked over Skype at the time, that was the short method. We never met physically, for two years, until I visited India when we started reading revenue two or three years in. So you know, all that is to say that, that data is key, quality data is absolutely necessary. And it’s very hard to find. I mean, there’s only a few companies that can even imagine to do this, you know. Most data is about 50%, inaccurate, you know, the phone number doesn’t work or the email doesn’t deliver, that’s pretty common, when you go to the big players, you know. And those big players don’t have the systems to be able to make them as accurate as we do. And when I’m saying big players, you know, some of these guys are public companies, you know. With your Dun and Bradstreet info, great companies, but the quality of the data isn’t going to be there. That’s why they’re charging, you know, 25 cents for a contact record. And we’re for that same contact record, you know, we’ll show the intent of that person. We will show that that person is ready to be called, ready to be emailed, ready to be nurtured. And we’re going to charge more for that, that kind of lead. So it’s a different kind of data. It’s all a contact record. But the thing is that the data that comes across is, you know, the phone number works, email works and the person is interested, you know. Whereas when you buy, just pull some data from some of the suppliers, there’s no interest there, it’s raw data, and just half of the data is inaccurate to them. So that’s what we came to find. And, you know, in 2009 and 2010, when we started developing this, this was a big problem. I mean, at the time, the only company that had email data, actually, with any accuracy was a company called Jigsaw. Remembered Jigsaw, they later Jim Fowler, who’s a very great guy, he did, he was the CEO of that company, he later became Owler.com. You probably heard of Owler and he runs that business now. And that’s another great business that he’s launched and doing great with.

But Jigsaw had the data. They were the only guys that actually had the email addresses that it was some level of accuracy. So we started the company with that data, I did a partnership with Jigsaw to be able to bring their data and we were shared that to generate leads and we were the only company at the time it was original thinking idea to use data to drive leads. Previously it was done through opt-in emails, if you remember. And companies always opted in and then you know they would create a newsletter, you opt in. We change the process on its ear and it’s able to scale because if you can triple check and create quality. You know, you can scale that data with millions of records, right? The pool is available, you know, if you can triple check it, right? So, we have those processes in place, we’ve got hundreds of people working on a final scenes technology that we built, we spent a lot of money back into the company to develop this technology. And accuracy is quality and accuracy is the number one thing. That’s the DNA of our company.

Christian Klepp  10:26

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Well, first of all, thank you for sharing that. Secondly, talking about humble beginnings. And you know, you were telling your story about, you know, back in the day when you started the company. And thirdly, you know, the points you brought up about data and how important it is to have qualified and accurate data. I mean, that totally resonates with me, because in a previous life, I was a product manager, and we spent copious amounts of time cleaning the data before we were even able to analyze that. So I totally hear where you’re coming from.

Brian Giese  11:01

Oh, yeah. And, you know, it’s a constant never ending thing. It requires those three pillars that I was talking about. And most companies are just not willing to go through that are customers of ours, and they rely on us to do that. And they needed it scale, you know, or customers or companies like IBM and Microsoft, and Cisco, and Staples, and KPMG and Capgemini. You know, these are the type of companies that appreciate what we’re doing because they need scale. They’ve got lots and lots of salespeople, they’re looking for, you know, cadence, and they’re looking for nurturing stream that are timed. And we have the systems to be able to do that and keep up with their appetite. Right. So it’s typically we do business with companies that are 50 million in revenue or higher. It is typical, and those kind of companies really appreciate the quality. And they understand the ROI on this the savings of what you’re going to get by using a company do this on your behalf. So that’s how we operate.

Christian Klepp  12:16

Right. Okay. So Brian, you know, we’re now at the start of 2021. Here comes the understatement of the year, we’ve just come out of what has been a tumultuous year for the entire world.

Brian Giese  12:30

Oh, yeah.

Christian Klepp  12:31

I mean, talk to us about some of the changes that you’ve made in your organization, as a result of a pandemic.

Brian Giese  12:38

Yeah, you know, the pandemic affected us dramatically, in a very good way. And I’m happy to talk about that. And then talk about certainly what we’re doing to accelerate 2021. But in March, early March of that year, my wife, last year, my wife contracted COVID-19.

Christian Klepp  12:59

Sorry to hear that!

Brian Giese  13:00

And you know, we did things like instead of doing company meetings on a quarterly basis, we get them weekly and we still do them. Every week we do a town hall meeting with the company. I wrote a manifesto and how we’re going to operate during this time and after. It’s on our careers page. We amped up, you know, a lot of the… you know, we paid holiday bonuses, we did 401 K’s. We did a lot of things that were for the people in the company to accelerate their dependence, I think in their feeling of trust, really, with the company that’s so important to us, to me personally, but then to us as a leadership team. And that’s been very helpful, I think so. So these things happened, and customers rallied around us. We were instrumental in causing at least 20,000 different people to secure their jobs by my calling CEOs and asking them to pile on to do the same thing that we were doing. We had a bunch of companies that said, sure, we’ll do that. And it was 10s of 1000s of jobs, I don’t really know. And so today, you know, the smoke is clearing into the back of this gear, and we see light at the end of the tunnel. And all that’s really good. So this year, you know, we’re focused on, you know, not so much the health, people’s health, although that’s critical path. And it’s very important that we’re looking at, you know, accelerating our quality of service and our learning. So during that pandemic, saying in Q3, we decided to use LinkedIn learning, which I think is a great tool. It used to be called Lynda. Do you remember lynda.com? They bought Lynda a couple of years ago. So we subscribe to Lynda / LinkedIn. And we require all employees to self-learn through this portal. It is very, very powerful, very powerful. The other thing that we did during the process, and we’re doing even now is we’re piling into LinkedIn, right? Because LinkedIn is our pathway. Well, LinkedIn and Twitter are the two best places that marketers go to. If you’re not there, if you’re listening to this, you need to establish a presence there. It’s very important. And, you know, we have lots and lots of posts going on and information. We are learning machine. There’s two things, the two things in terms of DNA that I totally believe in: quality, and learning. Those are the things that are going to carry you through this learning is doing these courses, and they by team of 300. They posted on LinkedIn, what they’re doing, how they’re doing it. And I mean, in fact, we have a summit coming up, I think you’ve probably Christian know about it.

It was sort of… well, it’s never fun to hear something like that. And she survived, obviously, but it was three weeks, it took to heal her and I’m sure I was asymptomatic in that process. But we were sort of, in the Petri dish of guinea pigs. You know, this was before it was a pandemic. But we were tested. And we found out that she definitely had it. I had, that I was asymptomatic around it. So it was declared a pandemic, as you know, on March 11. But on March 27, you know, there were two things I think people are very worried about in the early days. One is, am I going to catch this disease? And the second thing is, am I going to have a job because of the disease? So we, our leadership team decided to do a 90-day no layoff policy. And I think that was the beginning of a change, and acceleration in the company. Now, of course, I didn’t know what was going to happen, nobody knew what was going to happen. Or if the effects both health wise and financially on the marketplace, or us as a company. And we decided to do that, because we could do it, we were able to do it. And of course, it’s history now that the company has done very well through the pandemic. You know, we’ve hired, you know, gosh, we’re at a little over 300 people now. We hired 111 people last year alone. So we’re accelerating. Now, why is that? Well, because our customers see what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, they piled on with larger providers like us, and they expect us to, to keep up the pace with them. So those are risk adverse kind of program going on with a lot of our supply chain, or a lot of our customer chain. I think, that helped us.

Christian Klepp  14:51


Brian Giese  17:47

All that’s done through… being promoted through LinkedIn, because that’s the portal to get the audience to understand what it is you’re doing, and how you’re doing it. So we’ve been sort of bout pounding that drum for quite a while.

And the other interesting metric that has helped us that our, our followers on LinkedIn has induced exponentially. And we now, we just passed this week, 24,000 followers, and we’re taking on like 1,000 a week. So it could absolutely go higher that we started in pandemic in March at 5,000. And we decided to pile on LinkedIn, now we’re at 24,000. Your voice is becoming heard now, when that happens, and we expect to get, you know, 10s of 1000s followers as quickly as we can. But we have plans to do that through really, really good educational services, right. Telling people what we do, how we do it, trying to train them on what these things are and how they can appreciate it. So it’s been very good for us. I mean, the pandemic is not good for all companies. In fact, we had a couple of customers. One was a company called TripActions, who is a wonderful company. I don’t know if you know, those guys, they’re beautiful company, really well run. Pandemic kind of hurt them a lot because they do B2B travel services. Yeah, the whole thing just kind of stopped. They had to do a lot of things there. But, you know,  to regroup in April. But I think that’s a very innovative company. They did a pivot into a different kind of software they already built focusing on something a little different than travel plans. And they’re doing I believe they’re doing okay, now, but my point is that we had customers like that, who were pretty large businesses that were dramatically affected in a negative way. And fortunately for us, we’re all digital. Everything we do is online. We’ve been using Zoom for years. Before that we use Skype. We were built for this. So, in fact, we have the hashtag in LinkedIn, we are built for this. Right? Because it just that’s the way we, we were… We didn’t change at all from a disconnection perspective, like, Oh, my gosh, where’s my office? You know, we’ve been in different offices forever, since the very, very, very beginning. And we’ve been encouraging companies all along to do that. I think there was a disbelief that it could be done at this level. And you know, when you have, you know, millions, dozens of millions in revenue, how many and hundreds of people how do you orchestrate meetings properly? How do you, you know, how do you communicate? Is that guy really working? You know (laugh) and all these weird questions, but the fact is, we’ve seen and now we know that people actually work harder. I’ve been saying that for years. People actually work harder when they can control their lifestyle. It’s better, it’s not worse. And it’s not about controlling people, it’s about unleashing them. And once the leashes broken, it’s going to be very hard for a lot of these companies, I think, to come back in 2021. The light is there. It’s at the end of this long tunnel that we’ve all been waiting for. It’s happening now. And over the next coming months, depending on how fast we can distribute the vaccine, it’s going to occur. So the question is, are we going to go back to these offices? That’s a huge question. And I think that’s one that people are really, a lot of companies are faced with, you know, the real question, when you think about that is what’s going to happen to the commercial real estate industry?

Christian Klepp  21:43

Well, yeah, I’ve been asking that since April or May last year. Right. So it is really something to think about, right?

Brian Giese  21:51

I think it’s a big deal but it’ll all work itself through and you know, we’re focused, most of our customers are in the tech world. I mentioned a few of them, we have lots of customers in the consulting services, business, health care. You know, we have data that can support financial services, or operation support in a variety of marketplaces, as opposed to other companies that do say opt in email, opt in targeting, they are stuck in certain market. You know, whatever market they build their website around, they’re going to be stuck in that market. And we’re not tethered like that. So if you guys are listening, and you’re whoever’s listening to this, if you have a marketplace where you’re struggling, I think every market struggles with lead generation quality. But if you’re in a market where you wonder where to go get leads, we probably can help you. It’s not all markets, but most markets we can cover. And that causes a breadth and depth that that is wonderful. For a lot of different companies.

Christian Klepp  22:59

Wow, I mean, first of all, thanks for sharing that. You brought up so many great points in the in the past couple of minutes of this conversation. And if I may say so like what you guys did last year, I mean, for me is a case study and exceptional leadership and crisis management.

Brian Giese  23:17

Thank you. I mean, it was really, it was really something to do reengage with… we’re sort of just cruising, you know, like, we weren’t making it, you know, in March. It changed everything. Because we moved into a daily, we were doing daily leadership meetings, you know, we had Task Force around everything from messaging to operation support to production management. And I was going from one group to another, figuring out where the cracks in the armor are going to be. And it was like this for months. Another thing we did, by the way. And I think this is a great thing, by the way, not that we did it, but that all companies should do it is a stress relief program. So if you go to our website, you’ll see we talk a lot about stress relief. But I did an email every single day, seven days a week to the company for about four months. And finally I just said, Oh my gosh, my fingers, my fingertips and calluses. I’m not gonna do this anymore. But it was, you know, as fun as it was, it was sort of like, just this is what I’m looking at. You should look at it to kind of thing to reduce the stress because we didn’t know where this was going. And now all the department heads do it. Thank God, I don’t have to do that every day anymore. It was like writing a blog every day. Boy, And I’m not that guy. You know, I mean, I’m not the guy that do that. But it did help a lot. And I think if… now we do it weekly. We do it by the department heads. And I think employees really appreciate. I really do so. They read them, they respond to them. And they just don’t get tired of reading them, you know, kind of thing. So we continue to do that we’re going to continue into 2021. In doing that, as a part of our DNA.

Christian Klepp  25:17

That’s fantastic. That’s fantastic.

Hey, it’s Christian Klepp here. We’ll get back to the episode in a second. But first, is your brand struggling to cut through the noise? Are you trying to find more effective ways to reach your target audience and boost sales? Are you trying to pivot your business? If so, book a call with EINBLICK Consulting, our experienced consultants will work with you to help your B2B business to succeed and scale. Go to www.einblick.co for more information.

Let’s switch gears and talk a little shop here. So in your professional opinion, what do you believe are some of the best practices in terms of b2b marketing, sales and data integration that serve the modern marketer based on the requirements and terms?

Brian Giese  26:05

Yeah, you know, I, I think the thing that people talk a lot about is this acronym ABM. And, you know, account based marketing. We’ve been doing account based marketing in b2b since 40 years, right? I mean, it’s been going on a long time. Somehow, it’s been packaged by the analysts, we called ABM. And I think it’s normal marketing, right? You marketing accounts, within the accounts, there are people, people buy stuff accounts down. So there you have to, you have to nurture a set of accounts. And then you have to within those accounts are people. So we’ve developed an identity graphs where we can see those people within those accounts. So a company will come to us and say, Look, here’s 500 accounts, this is what I’m going after, we’ve developed the personas and the types of people here are the titles of the people we need to go after. We’ll take that, and we’ll see what their activity as a company is on the internet. And then we’ll show those people that have shown interest in these topics. You know, so again, marketing automation for the internet, that’s best practice. It’s not about marketing to companies. Yes, of course, we do that. It’s about people, because the companies actually don’t buy things but people, I need to know who’s doing it. Right. So, we have this concept that we worked out with Forrester series decisions a couple of years ago, called “buying groups”. Now, this is their words. But a buying group are the people, you know, in b2b, it’s rarely, especially companies that are a little bit larger, that decisions are made by one person, it’s made by a group of people called the buying group, we can identify the buying group, how they’re situated together, and what their active interest is per for each person. And then we can nurture them by sending them emails based on their activity and interest. Now, that is, I think, very interesting to customers. Because ultimately, you know, I think counts, the people really matter. So we’re the first company in the business to business marketplace to develop an identity graph that actually works. And it’s a part of our True Influence Marketing Cloud, which, you know, we launched the public about six or so months ago, including the identity graph, and the buying groups. You can see who they are, it’s right there. It’s like a blueprint. So I think that’s interesting. And I think it’s best practice and we’re getting a tremendous amount of activity around it. Like, from the analysts, they love the idea, obviously, it takes them down the path of you know, we’re helping them promote their concepts, obviously. And it’s an obvious concept. It’s, you know, so.

I think ABM by the way, you know, that whole idea is a good idea. But it’s been around a long time. And I think, I think calling it that is going to go away, I think it’s gonna work into something else. You know, it just seems to me and it’s been around for what now three years we’ve been talking about it maybe. There’s always a beginning, middle and an end to all these things. Before that, it was predictive analytics. Remember that? Yeah. Yeah, you’re right. There was a bunch of companies and they’re all on it because not that it’s not a great idea, it is. But to do it and executed properly is insanely difficult. And it’s so with ABM, it’s insanely difficult if it’s done well. Anybody can do it and you can talk about it, but to do it well, requires the mechanics to do it well, in a certain way of thinking. So predictive analytics went by the wayside. I think ABM likely will too. And I think that trend is sort of, you know, it’s sort of a repackaged idea around an old, you know. It’s new packaging around an old idea. You know, it just seems to me, but you know that we’ll see how that comes out of this. We’ll figure out, you know, Forrester down on serious decisions. They, you know, they’re sort of setting the pace now with pretty much everything B2B does. And that’s their job. I’ve had long talks with Laura Ramos, who, you know, she’s the head of the analyst team. We’ve talked a lot about this. She absolutely agrees with these concepts, I think, and yeah, you’ll hear it from her soon in our summit, which is coming up in January 21, she’ll be one of the speakers there. Likely we’ll talk about this, you know, this advancement.

Christian Klepp  30:54

Absolutely. I mean, like, you know, what you’ve been talking about these past couple of minutes, it almost seems like it’s a… we’ll call it whatever you want, like a natural progression, or a gradual evolution to a certain extent.

Brian Giese  31:08

It’s an evolution, is what it is. You know, until now, you weren’t be… the graphing wasn’t available. Right? You could see the company that was developed about three to four, three, or maybe four years ago, we had a product called InsightBase, which could categorize the companies to, you know, in categorize the company to a topic. And that was that was difficult to do. And it’s done. There’s a handful, even a bunch of companies that do it now. And they’re getting better and better, right, the data gets better with more work applied to it. And the data dictionaries are getting much larger. Right? We have 60 million contact records in our database that are applied to intent, to the company intent, and their personal activity through our identity graph. So, and that’s unique, right? That is the unique selling proposition, because the ability to get to the person at the right time is absolutely critical. It’s not about sending a bunch of emails, I mean, you can do that. And people do that. It’s really about sending the right email to the right person at the right time, who are definitely interested. And then they’ll become a response, right. They’ll click to learn more, whatever. That’s what we’ve developed. And you know we can do it for companies, or they can buy it from us and they can do it themselves, we have something called IntentBase, which is a data feed, so that you can do some of this yourself, if you haven’t the jobs to be able to plug it into the back end. You can definitely do that. And larger companies do that. Or, you know, you can have us do it for you. And we’ll just give the context that that are the right people at the right time. We can do that as well. So, but I think we’ve evolved here.

And you know, another interesting point around this very topic is the consumer world. They’re pretty far advanced compared to the business world. Yes, they’ve already proven that the relevance engine, the intent, and the identity graphic works, right. They know it works. And there’s a few companies that have developed this in the past few years ago, we were the first one this year to come out with it in business to business. So we had the advantage of being able to understand what the consumer companies were doing, and how they were doing it. And that really raised us forward, I think. The concept was already developed, you can type in identity graph, and it’ll tell you what it is and how it works. We didn’t have that identity graph, we invented the ability to get to groups of people, to tie them together as buying groups, because it’s again, it’s never an individual, it’s a group of people around this this topic. That’s what we’ve developed. Right? So the business world, that’s how it works. Whereas with the consumer world, it’s a person buying something, right. It’s an individual contributor decision. And so that, that it was a complication that we had to work out, it took us a couple of years to do it, and we have.

Christian Klepp  34:22

Great. So in your experience, what barriers do you think there are, that prevents sales and marketing from creating smarter engagement and how would intent data give them more and better results?

Brian Giese  34:37

Well, you know, I think, you know, arguably, it’s really about, you know, it’s about this is not for the faint of heart. You can’t take intent data and just plug it in and it works. It doesn’t work that way. Even we’d like to say it does. It takes a certain sophistication of marketing, which we’re happy to teach people how to do. We have a customer called Imprivata you can see imprivata.com, they are a few 100 million dollar. I believe they’re public health care company, and they sell software to to health care providers. They took our data in in 2015. And with them, were able to develop a system that moves the needle for them. In other words, if you go to our website and look at their case study of the ROI, it was tremendous. I mean, they were able to plug this in. And change the return of the ultimate opportunities in Salesforce pretty quickly. But it does, it took two these two ladies some time, you know, months of time in testing and measurement. So we know how to do that. They work very specifically with our team to learn how to do this. And we learn from them as well. These are great marketers. And they were able to get to go to prove the ROI to the CEO, right. Which ultimately, you have to do. But we have those formulas, we can tell you how to do that. So the barrier to entry really is the sophistication of the marketer to create, to understand the concept and apply it to actual practice. That’s sort of the challenge. And then you get some providers, that their data just isn’t very good and not producing very much results. And that, of course slows people down. right? If you buy dirty data, you’re going to get not much result. Yeah, that that’s how it works. I encourage people to go to our website, look at our case study page, and imprivata case study will be there and I can’t explain it honestly like they do. But it’s very impressive. It’s just a few minutes, but they’ll give you their story. And we have case studies from other companies too. But they stand out because I think without those two ladies, and without their sophistication coming in their ability to do this right to think through it, and map it to their process. That’s what intent is able to do. It’s like a filtering system, right? So you know, and you have to be able to say, okay, when this person reaches this level of intent, it’s now time to call them or it’s now time to email them. Right. So it’s like a scoring system inside of Marketo or Eloqua, a sophisticated marketer can set that up beautifully and unsophisticated marketer can’t. And I think, at this stage, you know, took years and years for marketers to figure out scoring, I mean, there was a time in 2010-2012 when nobody used scoring, it was a concept, you know, Eloqua had it, but nobody used it, you know. And I think they are using it now. I think there are scoring systems, and I think we’ve evolved, that’s a great word I think into using scoring and intent is evolving, as well. I mean, we’ve got lots of customers using it, there are other companies that also are out there, you know, that are using it, you know, that, that are collecting the data. The key is, though, how do you get to the person? I think, I think that’s ultimately what we all want, you know, lead as a person, so we got to get to that person, and the groups of people are buying groups. So I think marketers as they study intent, and it’s a big deal. I mean, you know, as you may know, it probably is the number one area that people are learning about. And it’s likely why our followers or, you know, our followers on LinkedIn are getting so, you know, we’re bringing on so many each month, because they just want to learn, you know, they’re very interested in learning about the topic, how I use this thing? what’s the available? what is the cost? What do I measure? What do I don’t measure? How do I measure it? So we know those things. And if you come to us, well, we’re happy to share with you this information. And, you know, we can have a user back end, or you can do it yourself if you want to do it. I was talking with the head of data at SAP not long ago. And he’s like, look, look at this app that we developed on my… He showed me his iPhone. And he’s like, look at this great app that we developed on the iPhone. And it was an app that showed the intent of customers, of companies, I’m sorry, not a customer. Companies.

Of companies and he had the metrics set up so that a salesperson could download this thing on their iPhone and be on the road and be able to see it. And it had engagement metrics on it. So it was a well built application that used intent we have another customer that uses it for employee information. You know, when they say look, you know, we’ve got 150,000 employees. I want to see what they’re doing and she could see what everybody’s doing. And their level of…. it’s not about spying on people, by the way, don’t go there. It’s not creepy. But you can see what they’re interested in as a person within a company. So you can train them, if you’re HR a certain way. You can bring … if they’re, if they’re out looking for the topic of cloud computing, you may want to teach them about that. right? So it can be used in a variety of ways. We have hedge fund companies using it, using us to show what Dell’s interested in, you know, what kind of things that they’re moving toward. So they can… if they can get that information, they can predictably, not predictably, but they can factually see what’s about to happen. Because, you know, I always say this, we’re not predicting anything, that’s not what we’re about. We’re really, we’re like the six o’clock news. You know, we’re like Walter Cronkite, right? Years and years ago, probably. But Walter Cronkite when he came to the market, and he would tell his story at six o’clock are the stories of our United States. It was truthful, and it was factual. That’s what we do. That’s how our data is used. It’s not predicting what could happen, right? That was predictive analytics, that’s likely why it didn’t work, it’s… you can try to predict and develop models, you can do that with our data. But that’s your job, if you want to do that, really what we’re telling you is what’s happening over the last six months of time. And so you can build your own models, right. So anyway, but that’s how it works. I mean, we’re excited about it, it’s a learning space, it’s a space that marketers, you know, have great stories around. It’s… we’re sort of at the end of the beginning. You know there’s a beginning, middle and end to everything. It’s sort of the end of the beginning, people are really learning, there’s a bunch of people to know about it. And we’re not, it’s not in the mainstream quite yet for those salespeople and those marketers that want to go the next level, this is a great place to be, you know, because it’s going to fuel a variety of different systems, not just sales leads, or marketing Leads, but it’ll fuel an entire company, you know, to do a variety of different applications.

Christian Klepp  42:25

Exactly. And it’s something that you’ve alluded to in the past couple of minutes. I mean, you know, these not just the technology, but the processes and systems. I mean, this is all part of that evolution, you know, it’s going back to that whole concept of, or the aim of creating smarter engagement and helping people to make smarter and informed decisions that will eventually we all hope, yield better results.

Brian Giese  42:48

Exactly. Exactly.

Christian Klepp  42:50

Right. So how and when do you think marketing and sales, that age old conflict? When do you think that they should be using a single point of or a single view of the customer to segment, personalize, connect, and close deals?

Brian Giese  43:07

Well, I mean, we do that. I mean, we use Salesforce as our engine, right? We use our  marketing cloud to fuel it on the back end. We use, for example, Marketo, as our marketing automation, but that Marketo is… we only use it for high powered nurturing You know, we’re using the TIMC, True Influence Marketing Cloud, for the gathering of top end data, for the fueling of Marketo. And then ultimately, the fueling of Salesforce. So we’re really at the high end of the food chain, in other words. You know, we are the, at the top of the stack, if you will. And, you know, by the way, I see some marketers, which is unfortunate, they’ll take this data, and they’ll give it to sales. And it’s really not for use by sales, it’s intended to be nurtured. So these are the kind of leads that you bring in. You know, somebody is interested in a category, a company, what are you going to do with that? Well, you’re going to send those type of topics, those kind of emails to that company. Now what else you can see is this person and this buying group. So now I’m nurturing those people, but you’re not calling them. Not yet. Because they, you know, the creation of… you’re familiar with the inbound versus outbound marketing, right? Yes. The HubSpot, you know, touts so, so much, you know, this can create that inbound action to occur, right? Because, you know, they’re interested, you know, they’re out there do research, you start nurturing them with Marketo or with Salesforce. Suddenly, now you’re on their radar screen, but if you call them, it probably not gonna turn out very well. That’s creepy, you know? (laugh)

Christian Klepp  45:06

Probably not.

Brian Giese  45:07

It’s the same thing with marketing automation, you know. So we advise people not to use us that way. And I think larger companies, you know, companies of which I’ve mentioned in the past in interview, you know, they understand these things, and they’re willing to make the time and investment, not that it’s terribly expensive, but they’re willing to plug it in at the right place. They have the sophistication to understand that. Right. You know, and the hedge fund, they’re using it as an analysis tool. They’re using it as an analytics engine, right? They’re not calling people as a result of it. But they can see that, you know, Dell is interested in these topics, therefore this could happen. And if that happened, and it gives them that predictive idea, if that happens, that would be good for the company. And if it doesn’t, you know, if you see a lot of the people at Dell are going to indeed.com, you know, there’s probably a problem. Right? Yeah, you know, there’s something going on that you probably shouldn’t invest in. So it’s, you know, you have to, you know, any unfair advantage you can get that’s legal you should go after. And this is definitely unfair advantages that more and more people are taking advantage of, because it absolutely does work. Right. But anyway, that’s what we’re doing. That’s how the market has helped us.

Christian Klepp  46:36

Yeah. Well, that’s fantastic. You know, there’s a few commonly held beliefs. And that goes for any area of discipline, any area of expertise, and yours is clearly no exception. So talk to us about one commonly held belief or conventional wisdom that you strongly disagree with, and why.

Brian Giese  47:02

You know, there’s probably a lot of things. (laugh) One that come to mind… I just got a meeting with HR. And there’s a commonly held, and by the way, we have 50 open positions. So if you know anybody, go to our website and apply. Just tell them, you know, we are hiring pretty fast right now. So, but there’s a commonly held belief that you hire resumes. And you know, we’re looking for people to experience in the role. And I vehemently disagree with that, I think if you hire somebody with a positive mental attitude, number one. And somebody that’s intelligent, and somebody that’s ambitious. If you can find that combination of those three things, you’ve got a solid citizen there. Now, if you can find experience, that’s good, you know, and they’re gonna make more money as a result. But I don’t think that’s the first thing you should look at at all. In fact, we’ve proven that out many times here at True Influence that it’s probably not the best thing to look for. Now, we do assessments, if you will, when we bring people in, to see if they’re actually this way, you know,

Christian Klepp  48:24

If they are the right fit.

Brian Giese  48:25

If they’re the right fit for that role, you know, we have role based assessments, and we’re looking for these three things. So if they come, you can’t hide, you know, we’re gonna be able to see these things. And we’re pretty good at that. So that helps companies scale. But hiring, you know, small, very small companies can hire a resume and probably get away with it, maybe, maybe not. But as you scale into a larger business, the experience is much less interesting. And the attitude is the number one thing. It is THE number one thing, especially when you’re dealing with things like COVID. There’ll always be something, you know, they’ll always be that thing that you’re rattling, it’s rattling the door rattling your cage that that is difficult to do business with as a company, you know, there’s always something. Now this one this something was much larger than any other something by far. I get that but, but if you focus on those things, that’s one distinction, that I think that we’ve been able to push forward very well in the company. And we are backing it up with systems to admire these three things. Right. We started a mentoring program last year. Well, that helps with ambition, you know, we started a learning program, you know, and that helps with positive mental attitude. Learners are people that are very interested in learning typically are much more successful. They’re much more ambitious, and they’re just easier to do business with. You know, honestly and we’ve had a couple of our people leave recently to start their own businesses. And they should do that, you know, I think everybody should be ready to do that. Those are the kind of ambitious people we’re looking for. So I think, and you asked me at this runtime, I was just came out of a meeting where we were talking about that, but I think there’s a lot of things honestly, Christian that people do. You know, I was in a meeting a few weeks ago, and somebody said to me, Well, it’s the way it’s always been taught. Like, we’ve been doing it this way, for 10 years, I’m like, that’s completely what you shouldn’t say, the seven words that will kill a company or any kind of organization, “it’s the way it’s always been done”. And so, you know, I’m constantly looking for ways to challenge the company to not do that. Right. That might be how the government works. That’s not how a healthy commercial business is going to work. Right? You have to challenge the norm.

Christian Klepp  51:03


Brian Giese  51:04

And, you know, we started during pandemic, and we continue, weekly messaging taskforce meeting. So I selected people from all over the company, there’s nine of us that meet once a week, and we talk about how to message these topics out to our employees internally, and out to the world externally. So it’s a group, that’s a lot of fun, you know, to be with these guys. And it’s a very innovative conversation, where everybody’s kind of equal and can come in and say their piece, and this is from all levels of the company. And it works for us. I, frankly, have never been in a company or seen a company that does that sort of thing. You know.

Christian Klepp  51:47

Yeah, yeah.

Brian Giese  51:47

You know, but innovation should be rewarded. And so we’re trying, we’re really trying to figure out ways to do that, you know. In fact, our company meeting is tomorrow, we’re giving away 10 Awards, 8 or 10 Awards, to some of our best people and promotions. And it’s stuff like that. It’s all virtual, and it’s gonna be three hours. We probably spent 40 man hours planning this meeting, at least. And it’s a three hour meeting, probably 100, I don’t even know. But teams of people coming together to make sure this is the best experience for them. Right. And this is something that we do that’s different, you know, now we go into any meeting, any meeting, our attitude is education and motivation. And they’re equal things. So the objective is to educate one another in the meeting, which is pretty good. But how do I motivate you? How do I get you to feel better about you than you did yourself? You know, how do I make you feel better about yourself when you’re with me? Right. And if you get a person to say, I feel better about me when I’m with you. That’s a very powerful statement. And that’s what I want all of our people to be able to do. And I want our salespeople to be able to do that with customers and be able to be the best sales force on the planet, at least the best one I’ve seen in 12 years. And these guys are artists that and that’s really, really important. Customers want that. Everybody wants it. Right.

Christian Klepp  52:56

Right. Exactly. So yeah, I mean, first of all, that is such a powerful mindset. And it’s also at the same time really inspiring. And while we’re on the topic of being inspiring, you guys have been working tirelessly on this upcoming summit that’s being hosted on January the 21st. I believe it is, around the topic of accelerating revenue in uncertain times. And I think you’ve got a strike through under the ‘un’ in ‘uncertain’. So talk to us a little bit about that, and why this topic is so relevant to everyone and B2B and where people can go to register for that.

Brian Giese  53:59

Yeah, I think there’s still a lot of things that are uncertain in the world. But we here at True Influence are certain. We’re very well planned company, we spent a lot of time planning things, including this summit coming up, we’ve got speakers. And it’s, as you said, January 21, we have speakers from Open Text, and Salesforce and Forrester, and Honeywell, and these are the heads of groups in the marketing area and the sales area that are coming to talk about it. Talk about what they do. Now, there will be no presentations from True Influence telling product presentations or anything like that. Those are so boring. This is a discussion amongst peers, where they’re going to be interviewed, you know, by professional interviewers to figure out what they’re doing. Because the customer says it the best, right? We can talk about it but it’s best when they tell you what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. So there’s some panel discussions. There’s some fireside chats, you know, our CMO is talking to Laura Ramos from Forrester for a few minutes. And then Brian Solis is going to be there from Salesforce. Who’s there… I don’t know what Brian’s title is, but he’s a remarkable guy. He’s like an evangelist, you know, kind of talk about what they’re doing with our products and services. And then of course, the exciting part is that we have that comedian Howie Mandel is going to come in, at… I’m not sure when he’s coming on us, I think he’s going to drop in a few times, because he’s a very, very, very spontaneous guy, very cool guy. And then he’s going to do the keynote as well at the end, and people will be able to ask him questions virtually. Now. For me, I’m a technologist. So all that’s great. But we’re able to find a platform that’s actually three dimensional. So you should come just to see that. It’s amazing. It’s amazing what this company has done with their technology to show off a zoom call. It’s not flat screen like we do when we use zoom. It’s actually three dimensional. It’s very cool. And so, you know, we’ve hired a professional commentator from a program called Meet the Boss, you remember that TV show, Meet the Boss. So we’ve hired that team to come in and do this for us. It’s so it’s going to be a really good, great show. And, and I think we’ve got some very interesting topics to cover, around lead generation around data, around how sales and marketing use this information around how to build apps, that would be of interest to your company. So you know, if nothing else, let’s laugh, right? I mean, you know, these seminars that people do, they’re so boring. And they’re just so boring. I mean, they’re good people. Don’t get me wrong. I’m just… their topics are so dry, you know. So how do you keep your eyes open? How he’s going to help us do that. And I appreciate you coming to help us with that.

Christian Klepp  57:03

Fantastic. That sounds like an action packed afternoon. So folks, if you haven’t registered already, please go and register for Accelerating Revenue in Uncertain Times. Taking place on January 21. And I think, where do they go to register?

Brian Giese  57:17

Brian, you can just go to our websites. And I’m looking at our homepage. They have it up on the homepage. Click the registration button. Fill in more information. Blah blah blah.

Christian Klepp  57:27

Yeah. Yeah. Fantastic. Brian, this has been such an amazing session. Thanks so much, again, for coming on and sharing. What’s the best way for people out there to connect with you?

Brian Giese  57:40


Christian Klepp  57:42


Brian Giese  57:42

Okay. Best way to do it is just come in and connect. I accept the you know, I’m happy to LinkedIn with you. That’s the best way to start a conversation.

Christian Klepp  57:51

Fantastic. Brian, you know, again, this session has been extremely informative, thought provoking. Really appreciate you coming on, and all the best for the upcoming summit. And please continue to stay safe.

Brian Giese  58:05

Thank you, sir. Appreciate the time.

Christian Klepp  58:07

All right. Thanks. Bye for now.

Brian Giese  58:08

Take care Christian.

Christian Klepp  58:10

Thank you for joining us on this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast. To learn more about what we do here at EINBLICK, please visit our website at www.einblick.co and be sure to subscribe to the show on iTunes or your favorite podcast player.


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