How to Generate Demand and Warm Up Accounts for B2B
Many B2B companies struggle with generating qualified leads in a sustainable way online. How can they position themselves strategically as experts in their niche to get prospects to come to them?
In this week’s episode, we do a deep dive into demand generation and warming up of accounts with B2B marketing expert Vladimir Blagojevic (Co-Founder, Fullfunnel.io). During our conversation, Vladimir talks about the importance of conducting research, understanding your ideal customer profile (ICP), and what mistakes to avoid. He also provides tips on how to use demand gen and warm up accounts to generate better results and highlights the metrics that B2B marketers should be paying attention to.
Topics discussed in this episode:
Christian Klepp, Vladimir Blagojevic
Christian Klepp 00:00
Welcome to B2B Marketers on a Mission, a podcast for B2B marketers that helps you to question the conventional, think differently, disrupt your industry, and take your marketing to new heights. Each week, we talk to B2B marketing experts who share inspirational stories, discussed our thoughts and trending topics, and provide useful marketing tips and recommendations. And now, here’s your host and co-founder of EINBLICK Consulting, Christian Klepp. Okay, welcome everyone to this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast where you get your weekly dose of B2B marketing insights. I’m your host, Christian Klepp. And today I’d like to welcome a guest who is on a mission to help B2B Tech and service based companies to generate demand and land qualified opportunities with full funnel Account Based Marketing. So coming to us from Valencia, Spain, Vladimir Blagojevic, I apologize, my Serbian is a little bit rusty, but I do know how to say Dobrodosli, welcome to the show.
Vladimir Blagojevic 01:00
Hvala, hvala. Thank you very much. It says to be here, thanks a lot for having me.
Christian Klepp 01:05
Great to be connected Vlad. And I’m gonna say just before we start the conversation, thanks to you, and Andrei Zinkevich, for all the work that you amazing work you guys do for the B2B community, all these fantastic posts that you put out on a regular basis, and of course, also these very informative webinars. So thank you again.
Vladimir Blagojevic 01:25
Well, thank you, I think it’s the feedback like that, that really is what keeps us going. And, you know, seeing the impact, that’s really, this is just really amazing. Thank you.
Christian Klepp 01:38
My pleasure. And you know, it’s like I always say on this podcast, you know, we’re doing our best to improve and to change B2B marketing, one conversation at a time, right?
Vladimir Blagojevic 01:49
Now go for it.
Christian Klepp 01:50
Let’s go for it. So Vlad, when it comes to helping B2B companies to generate demand and land enterprise opportunities, I would say that you’re a bit of an expert, right? So for this conversation, let’s narrow it down to the topic of demand generation and accounts warm up. So you posted something and you post a lot. But you posted something about three weeks ago now on this topic, and it got incredible engagement. So could you talk to us a little bit about what you posted and why you felt that post was so well received?
Vladimir Blagojevic 02:24
Alright, so the first thing maybe to give people a little bit of context, when we talk about account based demand generation, warming up target accounts, etc. We’re talking about essentially, companies with high annual deal size with complex sales cycles, complex and long sales cycles. Companies that usually require an… in every business is like that, in B2B especially. But especially if you’re in that kind of situation, you want to go after a specific set of accounts, right? You’re not going to be marketing out there in the open. And so when we’re talking about account based demand generation, when you’re talking about warming up accounts, just want to be like, very precise about, we’re warming up very specific accounts. Maybe this is a list of 50, 100, maybe even just 20 accounts. Right? So how do we get our message in front of the right people? And the second part of it is the warm up that you mentioned. So why is that important? What does it mean? Well, essentially, if you’re reaching out to somebody, if you’re trying to market to somebody, sell to somebody, and they get your message or they see your ad, like what is the one thing, the one number one thing that people look at before they decide whether it’s relevant for them, whether they should ignore it or not. Essentially, it’s whether they know you, like you get a message in your inbox, this is the first thing do I know this person or not? So getting that know, like, and trust factor across to your target accounts is really why we do this form of campaigns. And you mentioned the post and I was essentially posting… I came up with this idea of kind of like a demand generation and thought leadership pyramid, right. And that was just a way for me to explain this, this concept of what are the different things that you need to do in order to warm up target accounts. And if you want I can walk you through the pyramid essentially, the bottom is the foundation like if you want to warm up target account, so specific type of companies, specific type of buyers, you really need to know them and if you want to use for example, content, as you will often use for this initial engagement and warm up, this content has to be relevant. We live in a time of content blinders, there’s just so much content being put out there. But at the same time, 75% or so of buyers are frustrated, they don’t get the information they want. So while there is a lot of content, there is not enough relevant content, there is not enough content that actually buyers want to consume, and share, right. And so the first thing you want to really nail this to really want to understand, and there is no other way, there’s no better way than talking to your customers doing that research by speaking to them interviewing them. And then what we do very practically, is we take all these insights, and we create a buyer journey. And a lot of companies make a mistake there. And they create a buyer journey, which is essentially a sales process. So it only includes the steps in which the buyer is talking to you. But I’m talking about a complete journey, including the triggers that people have and like, what is happening in their business when they decide to search for a solution like yours and all of these things. Because if you really want to generate demand, you cannot assume that the demand exists. So you have to be talking about things that happened beforehand, right. So that’s why this buyer journey is so important. And then what you’re essentially doing is buying journeys, mapping all the different steps and stages that the buyers go through. But importantly, for each of those stages in each of those steps, you want to capture the questions that they have. So what are they trying to learn and objections that they might have at this stage. And you just take all of those questions and objections. And you put them in one documents. And this is a document that we call mapping informational needs. But it’s essentially a list of topics and questions. So for each topic, questions and objections that buyer said, and this is the core assets that you use when you’re doing any sort of engagement, content creation, etc, etc. So that’s the first step. That’s the foundation. Make sense?
Christian Klepp 07:19
Yes make sense.
Vladimir Blagojevic 07:20
Vladimir Blagojevic 07:22
The second point, the second part, so we’ve got our first foundation, right, but so in the next step, we want to start engaging those buyers, right? And so how do you do that? And a lot of people talk about dark social, right? So a lot of people talk about the fact that, you know, most important conversations happened outside of your funnel, right? And so what does that mean? It means that you cannot just put all your effort in herding the people into your funnel, and then neatly step by step, quote, unquote, nurturing them into… that’s not how it works in B2B, that’s, that’s not how people buy products, right? So instead of doing that, and it should be a relief, actually, because that is actually quite a complicated way of doing marketing, which you should be doing instead is you should be putting out this, let’s say thought leadership and engaging content and sharing it on the places where the buyers are. And also making content shareable, share-worthy if you like, so that the buyers share it on places that you cannot get to. That makes sense, right? So concretely what I’m talking about, I’m talking about, you know, being on social communities, obviously, on the channels where your buyers are, and not going after people in an annoying salesy outreach way, but actually sharing that content, where they are and so that they find it, they consume it, they share it. And when people talk about nurturing, often they think about this long email sequences or whatever. But when I’m talking about nurturing, this is what I mean, it is being present. Like, for example, to make it very concrete, what we do daily is we post on LinkedIn, and they also post on to a Twitter, we have our own community, the Trenches where we also engage in post every day. And we have our weekly newsletter. And we also share content. We have our you know, you know, maybe the blog or whatever, where we share content. So this is what I mean you’re there where your buyers are and you’re sharing content that they want to read and share. Now, that’s okay, that’s part of the story, right? But if you want to if you want to really reach your buyers, there is like a kind of a shortcut. Then something that people from the music industry understand really well, or people from the movie business really understand very well, right. But somehow in marketing in B2B marketing, I think you’ve got lost. And that is that the easiest way for you to build authority, build thought leadership and audience is to tap into an existing authority and audience. It’s like an opening act, you go or a warm up act, you go to a rock concert, and there is like, you know, the big band you came to see, but then there is the opening act, there is a maybe an unknown band, but they get an implicit endorsement from the bigger band, and access to their audience. And so what the next step or the next layer in the pyramid is all about engaging and co-creating content with the audience that your buyers already trust.
Vladimir Blagojevic 10:55
These are obviously industry influencers, these may be partner brands, these may be their colleagues. So we are talking about buyers, who do they trust, they trust their colleagues, they trust their peers. What does that mean? While it means for example, that you should be engaging the whole buying committee, their colleagues. And that if you’re creating content, you can also involve buyers and their peers from the industry in content creation, we do that all the time, I don’t think we published an article in more than a year, without it somehow, also being a co-creation play with, you know, the industry influencers and with the buyers themselves. And then there is another group that people sometimes forget, and these are the ambassadors or engagers, for me, like the golden, but these are essentially people who are not necessarily going to, they’re never going to become a customer, they’re not really your target accounts, they’re not your target buyers, but they’re out there, trying to do the same thing trying to build their own brand trying to do, and they love your content, and they engage with your content, and they help you spread your message. And they’re, by the way connected to your buyers. And finally, it’s niche media, it’s communities, community owners, it’s podcasts, like you and I here having this conversation. You know, that’s like you’re connected to some B2B marketers that I’m not connected to connect to, and vice versa. And we are, in a way kind of exchanging the audience right now. Right? So this is like, what people know, in the movie in the music business, like it’s all about who you know, and who you who you build a relationship with. And that’s the easiest way to grow. And it’s the same in B2B marketing. And that’s essentially the pyramid. And the only thing that I also added on top of that is some concrete examples. Like podcasts, like partner webinars, webinars with brands. So for example, we do every week, a live podcast, with industry influencers, thought leaders, but we do also partnership webinars, these are like big companies like in our space, like I don’t know, Sendoso, Chili Piper, a lot of market brands, those are brands who already won that trust, already did that hard work. And in that way, you get access to the audience. And then to really get the leverage out of it like to really like, get one plus one is three, as you’re building those relationships with those people from the industry. What we do is also twice a year, we run a B2B marketing summit, we call it the Full Funnel B2B marketing Summit, where we essentially invite people that we had on our podcast and we built relationship with. And, you know, this drives enormous engagement 1000s and 1000s of subscribers and attendees. And again, it’s the same play is the opening act play, and it works really well.
Christian Klepp 14:04
Yeah, that was a heck of a start. Thank you so much for sharing all of that. I mean, you brought some really amazing points. But I wanted to go back to something you mentioned at the beginning of the conversation about dark social, because this seems to be one of these. I don’t really like to use this term, but trending buzzwords, you know, in the marketing space. So talk to us a little bit more about that and why you feel that, you mentioned that a bit, but like, why you feel it’s so important and that marketers should not be neglecting that aspect of it.
Vladimir Blagojevic 14:36
Let me just… let me answer that with a simple story. Okay. So usually, marketing is done in the following way. So you have you run a webinar, people come to your webinar, you know, they follow the webinar and then after that, the SDR (Sales development reps) follows up with everybody who attended the webinar and tries to qualify them and then send them to the account executive. But we all know that this, this is a broken model, this doesn’t work. And the reason why this doesn’t work is because usually, this is not how it happens, it may be that you met me at… you came to that webinar, and you… That was your first touch, right? And you’ll learn about it. And then you sign up to our newsletter, and you were receiving our newsletter for a while. And then you maybe were following us on LinkedIn. And then I shared the case study, and you saw the case study or send it maybe to your CMO and your CMO saw the case study, and I was actually maybe peeking into the analytics, and so that, you know, she might have read the case study, and then maybe I reached out to her, but then she decided to ignore it, because it wasn’t the right time. And then something else happened. And she started maybe following me on LinkedIn, but then she didn’t react or she didn’t, you know, engage. And then maybe she saw the post about our Full Funnel Marketing Summit, and send her marketer day one there, discovered our framework came back, etc, etc. So it’s like the buying process is takes. And by the way, these are the touches that they have with me and our brand. And in the meantime, they had all these other conversations in communities where they were maybe asking, you know, do you know somebody who can help us with ABM (Account-base marketing), or, you know, maybe they were looking for tools, and they were, you know, attending other webinars or conferences, etc. And they were having discussions between them with their colleagues. Maybe they have an alumni group from their MBA. Right. And they were asking people who they trust or recommendations, etc, etc, etc. So, dark social is really all about all these places that you don’t have attribution about, that you don’t know about, where your buyers that actually getting that information, recommendations from and neat little funnel with three or five steps.
Christian Klepp 17:02
Yeah, no, that’s absolutely right. That’s absolutely right. I mean, especially the part about like, you know, and that’s what Dark Social is about, right? It’s not really measurable. It’s a lot of it is qualitative, in fact, right?
Vladimir Blagojevic 17:15
Absolutely. And, you know, even metrics, like, I’ve been speaking to VP of marketing, and we were talking about metrics, right? And he said, we take our metrics and attribution with a grain of salt. Why? Because you know, we did a study, kind of he called it reverse engineering. Instead of looking at the attribution, they would simply call and ask their prospects and customers, you know, where, where was the first time you heard about us, etc. And it turns out that 30% of their quote, unquote, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) leads, right actually word of mouth. People hear about you, they Google your name, because they heard about you, and they find you. And so if you’re making decisions based on that attribution, and you say, oh, we should double down on SEO or whatever I mean, or LinkedIn ad or whatever, right? You may be making the wrong decisions.
Christian Klepp 18:12
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Vlad, I think you’re gonna have no problem answering this next question, because you’ve probably seen that all. But when it comes to demand generation and warming up accounts, talk to us about some of the most common mistakes and misconceptions that you’ve seen and what marketers should be doing to address those.
Vladimir Blagojevic 18:35
Well, I think the biggest mistake that it’s not done, a lot of B2B companies, you know, just run this cold ads or cold outreach, and it’s not done. So that’s probably the biggest mistake. The other one is essentially sending leads to sales premature, like that’s the story that I gave about sending a webinar attendee to your SDR to your account executive. Another one would be that people or brands are creating content that doesn’t stand out, we spoke about content blindness. And a lot of companies are making content based on fictive personas, the try-hard Tammy, or something like that, and not based on actual people who are you know, they’re, let’s say, working there employees working at their customer and talking to them and asking them about their questions and you know, needs. And often also content is kind of superficial maybe it’s not like in depth maybe it’s not actionable. Often also content is not really meant for the specific type of like buyer etc. So there’s kind of lack of segmentation or what I call the customer message or the buyer message fit and one specific tactic that is very often overused, especially Account Based Marketing is display ads, like a lot of companies believe that warm-up equals running display ads. And that’s, you know, potentially something that could be a part of the mix, but it’s definitely not going to make such a big difference.
Christian Klepp 20:21
Yeah, no, that’s absolutely right. And, you know, just going back to your point about content, and one other thing I see B2B companies doing a lot of is focusing too much on their own product features, or just talking more about their services, as opposed to like, Okay, how do they how can they actually solve a genuine problem that exists. Right? for their customers. Right?
Vladimir Blagojevic 20:44
Yeah, you have a lot of content that is masking as educational content, but it’s merely more than a product pitch. It’s not to say that you cannot have a very native way in which you’re like mentioning your product. There’s nothing wrong with like you say, you know, going in addressing a specific problem, and then using a case study, in our customer experience, like the problem. And then like mentioning, by the way, you know, you’re in a native way mentioning your product. But like you say, a lot of companies just… because why? Because they they’re looking for quick wins, they want, okay, I’m investing in this, we are a business. So we want an ROI. So I want this content to sell. But that’s not how content sell. And that’s the whole story we had just a minute ago about the complexity of the buyer process.
Christian Klepp 21:38
And it also goes back to something you said earlier, I mean, like, you know why, for example, companies don’t warm up their accounts, and they just keep trying to reach out to as many people as they can, because they’re playing this numbers game. Right?
Vladimir Blagojevic 21:51
Christian Klepp 21:52
And this this crazy theory of probability. If I, if I reach out to 5000 people, then maybe I’ll get, I’ll get a meeting with 200 of them. And that’s already a win. But is it really?
Vladimir Blagojevic 22:05
Now I think that’s exactly one of the big problems that we see is the what we call the scalability obsession. And when people think about scalability, they think about effort, but what you should really be thinking about is the ROI, how does the ROI scale. And the problem with demand generation, the problem with warm up is that you don’t see immediate return. It’s not linear, like with ads with lead gen, you know, cold outreach, it’s quite linear until it tapers off, right until you create an audience fatigue, and it tapers off. And because you need to do game of numbers, you can’t really personalize, you’re not relevant, you’re not going after target accounts. Because yeah, you cannot. You have to go after the 5000 that you mentioned not after the, whatever, 50 or 100, who are really a good fit, and are potentially in the market right now. So you end up creating over long term, really bad ROI, where with demand generation, you actually have a kind of a compound effect, like with you know what, like with investment, like, you’re investing capital, and you’re not seeing immediately big returns, but over time, it compounds because every time you do an action, a warm up action, demand generation thought leadership action, you’re growing these basic assets, like your capital and your capital is your brand, is your trust that you have with your audience, your knowledge of the audience, your industry recognition. And as that as this capital assets grow, so does the ROI of any marketing action that you’re going to do in future. Right. So that’s how it compounds. And I literally, I was doing some tests, and literally was seeing that effect on an inbound pump pipeline, for example, is one one of the arms. It really works like that.
Christian Klepp 24:01
No, absolutely. Absolutely. And you probably have a lot of case studies, but talk to us about one particular challenge that, you know, you and the team have managed to solve in the past 12 months or so.
Vladimir Blagojevic 24:15
Yeah, I mean, we, we had a case where so we were doing account-based marketing campaign, we were setting up account-based marketing campaign for a client and they were in of all spaces in software development space, which is like commodity really hard to stand out, really hard to get any sort of replies and so which is always the case like what you need to do in that case, it really need to narrow down and we found like a very, very specific niche that our client was really had advantage in. And we build a list of you won’t believe it, but it was a list of 11 accounts, right. And we were just about to start with the ABM campaign. 11 accounts. And by the way, by the end, they generated opportunities in nine of those accounts, closed three, and we are talking about multiple seven figure pipeline and deal size. So it’s well worth it. Especially because like I said, a deal size was large enough. And by the way, this the deal size was tenfold what it used to be before because it was so focused, etc. Now, but the challenge was that we were just about to run an ABM campaign, which included some direct mail, you know, sending some creative outreach, using direct mail, and then people had to go home started working from home. And you know, that was just like the end of that. And we were looking, okay, how can we replace that? What should we do instead, and decided to go for LinkedIn instead. And, you know, essentially, we were doing what I described in the pyramids. And just actually the first two steps, just like being active on LinkedIn, sharing content, engaging the buyer buying committee, all these audiences and all of that. And over a period of six months, they actually made the, like I said, landed opportunities with nine of these 11 target accounts, and closed three of them. So I love this case study, because it shows several aspects. It shows how narrow you can target and still be very successful. And it shows the power of demand gen or account based demand generation.
Christian Klepp 26:38
Wow. 11. So there were 11 companies on the list of which they were able to get nine opportunities, and other than nine, they closed three deals. Wow, that’s a wow, that’s, that’s incredible.
Vladimir Blagojevic 26:55
I mean, it’s the one thing that should understand. These big companies. So they actually had the target list of 200, about 200 buyers, right. So obviously, when you’re dealing with larger companies, and that’s also why you don’t need a big list, because you can’t like you can’t really build relationships with more, right? If, if you’re a small team, like they were right. So that’s another reason why you want to go as narrow as possible.
Christian Klepp 27:29
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.
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.
So, you know, Vlad for the next, the next question will almost seem like something that’s very standard for marketers. But it’s interesting to see how sometimes people don’t get that right. Talk to us about the importance of conducting the relevant research and having a solid understanding of your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile), as well as the platforms and channels they use as part of your approach.
Vladimir Blagojevic 28:21
Alright, so that’s indeed a step. I mean, people talk about it a lot. But rarely they do it. And rarely they do it properly. And, you know, if you asked me, like, what is one of the biggest mistakes is actually skipping that step. People want to jump into tactics, right? And now, why is that important? Well, it is very important, because you can’t really find… you can’t have results, like I just mentioned, if you don’t really nail that ideal customer, up to a level. And the way that we do this is next to, you know, the standard stuff that you would have in any ICP. We will actually develop specific what we call qualification and disqualification criteria. Let me give an example. And the same case that I just spoke about. They realize because they were after companies in the ad tech space, they realize that one of the things that one of the reasons why their customers bought for them, one of the things the reasons why they really liked them chose them was their expertise in something that is called Mobile SDK (Software Development Kit), don’t ask me what it is. And it was something that was very important. And because it was so important, that’s why we were able to narrow this list in such a way and that’s why that’s one of the reasons why we were able to also generate, you know, such a big percent of accounts to general opportunities, it’s such a big percent of the accounts. So nailing this down to that level and usually come up with something like 20 or 30 criteria to really, really understand that. Then the second part is that, you know, the way the companies are building value proposition, you know, I’m sure you know this very well and a lot of our listeners, it is usually a process either that’s maybe outsourced to some sort of branding agency or copywriter. Or, or maybe it’s something that people come up by consensus, etc, etc. But the best way to do this is to obviously talk to the customers and ask them like, why did you choose us? And what was the value? What did you find most valuable about working with us? Because, again, in the situation where you’re going after a specific, let’s say, vertical, a specific segment, etc, you really want to understand why this segment is buying from you. And so that value proposition is going to be much better. And a lot of people think, yeah, but we know our customers, we are in the industry for 15 years, but they forget that they have bias, right? And you always have a solution bias. Because after all, it’s your job to solve the problems of your customers, right. And so, when you start talking, a lot of times, when you start talking about problems, you’re actually start talking about solutions, because it’s your job to interpret them. But you want the uninterpreted version, you want the verbatim version, if you like, right? And then you mentioned also like research about customers and research or research of channels, and, you know, platforms, essentially, why is that important? Well, we spoke about dark social, we spoke about understanding where your customers are, you need to be where your customers are, you cannot expect to have them everybody in your funnel. And so that’s why you need to figure it out. Where are they, you can ask them, obviously, that’s part of the customer research and interviews. And you can, you know, do some desk research, obviously. But part of the channels that people don’t often skip is actually channels are people too. And what I mean by that, is that thought leaders, we were talking about co-creation, and so thought leaders, communities, community owners, podcast, podcast owners, etc, podcast house, etc. These are also quote unquote, channels. And next to like, knowing where you… where your buyers so you are there, you’re also doing that, because these channels, and these interviews also give you insight into the real questions that the real buyers said. So going back to our demand generation in creating content that doesn’t get ignored. It is through that research and coming up with the exact questions that your buyer said that you will be able to drive, you know, content that is shared, and that is actually driving demand. So these are some of the reasons and I’m sure there are others. But these are some of the main reasons that I think people definitely shouldn’t be skipping research.
Christian Klepp 33:07
Absolutely, absolutely. And you brought up such a great point. And I just wanted to go back to it. Because you know, we’ve heard this so many times that you know, about solution bias and about just a one sided version of the story. Let’s put it that way, right, like people saying, Okay, we don’t need to do the customer research, because we already know who our customers are. Whereas I would argue that and I’m not just talking about what’s happened in the past two years, but the ecosystem continues to change. A lot the behavior changes, the way that people make buying decisions change, the way that they are looking for information has clearly changed a lot. Right?
Vladimir Blagojevic 33:43
Christian Klepp 33:44
So the way that they were building those relationships and prospecting customers maybe 15 or 20 years ago, I mean, certainly that cannot be still applicable right now. At least not for the most part right?
Vladimir Blagojevic 33:56
No, even two or three years ago, the world was so different. So absolutely essentially you should be looking at and reviewing your positioning, your value proposition on a quarterly basis, you know, at least twice a year. Right? Because of the accelerated speed of change. And we all know that back in 2011, 150 MarTech startups nowadays, I don’t even know was it like 8500, like more than 5,000% growth?
Christian Klepp 34:29
Vladimir Blagojevic 34:30
We can’t even get it like we’re stuck with our linear minds. So that’s exactly what the point that you made, I like it because it’s things change too fast for you to rely on things that maybe were true once but are definitely going to be different.
Christian Klepp 34:49
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Okay, here we go. The actionable part of the conversation and let me just set this up a little bit Vlad, because let’s appreciate that warming up is not going to happen overnight. Yeah, this is not this is not an app that you download, and presto, alright. But there are probably some things that B2B marketers can do right now to improve, right? What they’re doing in terms of demand and accounts warm up, right. So what are those things that they can start doing right now?
Vladimir Blagojevic 35:26
Yeah, I would say a couple of things. So first is going to their CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and talking to their sales people, and figuring out what were the five biggest recent deals that we won. And let’s say over the last year, five fastest deals that we won, and maybe five biggest deals that we lost, and trying to understand what’s going on, what kind of customers really nailing your, let’s say, ideal customer profile, but in a very practical way. So that the next step, and that’s the practical part, you actually go and build a list of maybe have an accounts in 200 buyers, or, you know, 20 accounts, if your accounts are smaller, and you start engaging them on social and answering questions in communities, this is like one thing that you can do, you know, in a couple of weeks already start with that. Then as you gain the understanding those questions, you can also look at your content and repurpose some of your content as native social. I’m not talking about dropping links to your blogs on LinkedIn, which is what a lot of companies unfortunately do. But really like taking, you know, you explain to me how you do it, for example, you take this podcast, and you, you know, chop, chop it up in some videos and you share you know, highlights and you create native posts, essentially LinkedIn, which is probably the fastest way for you to start engaging the buyers and warming them up. And then, you know, maybe on the next level, after they’ve exhausted, the content repurposing, you can start doing exactly what you’re doing Christian, and that is co-creation, right? Start a Podcast, you don’t have to start a podcast, I have a client who did, who started a LinkedIn newsletter. And he was reaching out to buyers. And you know, it’s not difficult to get subscribers, but now he could reach out. Yeah, it sounds difficult, like you just invite people to subscribe. And he could now reach out to buyers and say, Hey, we are working on the next edition. And I’d like to, you know, feature you. And I would like to, you know, share, share your quote in there. It’s read by 2000 professionals from your niche, right, which is always a very, it’s a very simple play, right? It doesn’t have to be like a complete podcast, it doesn’t have to be like a research report that will take you months of work. It can be as simple as I’m interviewing, you know, let’s say marketers from B2B from FinTech (Financial Technology) companies. For LinkedIn, that’s it, it can be like that, right? And you just interview them 15 minutes and post it on LinkedIn, that’s already going to be a first co-creation play. And I think something that you can do without a lot of effort or a big team or big budgets.
Christian Klepp 38:25
Yeah, no, absolutely. Those are, those are some great points. And yeah, like, um, as you said, you know, when people ask me, like, should I should I start my own podcast? My usual answer to that as well, it really depends, right? Because as you well know, and you can attest to, podcasting is actually a lot of work. Right. And I enjoy doing the work, but it’s a lot of work. But the other the other side of that is they can be guests on podcasts. And that’s another way of of building that awareness, that expertise and that authority. And yeah, back to something you mentioned a couple of times in this conversation, the content co-creation, right.
Vladimir Blagojevic 39:05
But one thing that people should realize about podcasts is like, it’s… there is no better way to build relationships than having a podcast. I had an… back in October, I wanted to just connect and build relationships with top B2B tech brands in Belgium, which is one of our home markets, let’s say, and just reached out to VP of marketing in the largest B2B tech companies. And I reached out to 11 and had to stop. I had a list of 20 but I reached out to 11, I had to stop because I already had them at interest. I don’t have more time, right?
Christian Klepp 39:45
Vladimir Blagojevic 39:46
And so it’s just incredible. It’s like a secret weapon. Nobody knows about it. And so you can build relationship with whomever you want. It is just amazing. So yes, it can be a lot of work. On the other hand, you don’t have to make it too complicated. We are here chatting on Zoom. You know, we are to be honest, we are posting our podcast not edited because we even we are running them live so it doesn’t have to be too difficult either. Yeah, but it is an amazing weapon. Well, let’s use another metaphor these days… (laugh)
Christian Klepp 40:19
Yeah, yeah. But it’s a channel right? An approach, right?
Vladimir Blagojevic 40:26
It is. For me, it’s more like a magic wand to be honest.
Christian Klepp 40:33
Magic wand is a… magic wand is a good one. Magic Wand. So like Harry Potter style? Yeah. Yeah. Um, yeah, I think for the next question, it’s really about like, you know, at the end of the day it, it does come down to some type of metric or attribution, right, when you’re talking about these demand gen and warm up initiatives. So what specific metrics should B2B marketers be paying attention to?
Vladimir Blagojevic 41:00
At the end, it is about marketing source revenue. Right? That’s, that’s why you’re doing all of that. Now, of course, this cannot be the only metric. But if you look at revenue related metrics, whether that’s just marketing source revenue, whether that’s, you know, things like sales accepted pipeline, leads to an opportunity, conversion, win rates, length of sales cycle, so the different these revenue metrics that anyhow, you should be following. But instead of having… you don’t have to make it complicated, and you don’t have to, like, you know, then maybe they will have the question of the attribution. But you can keep it simple. First of all, like I said, attribution can be as simple as asking prospects, you know, where they heard about you already, that is going to be already very good. But you can also just look at trends, right, you know, we started doing this now warm up before our sales was reaching out cold, and they had, you know, whatever metrics they had, or success performance they had previously. Now with the warm up programs, what is it? We’re doing, we’re doing demand generation, are we seeing an increase in inbound inquiries, right? You’re not really measuring a lot for ourselves, obviously, with clients will be different, but for ourselves, because it’s so obvious, right? You also should be looking because it’s a long… if you have long sales cycles, you can’t expect, especially with the long term play, like demand generation, essentially, is a long term play, it’s not going to work from day to day, right? It’s going to take some time. So you should also be looking at leading metrics, especially like target account engagement, right? So how many of your, your target accounts or council fit your let’s say, qualification criteria, are being engaged, having conversations, you know, engaging with whatever your posts or, you know, visiting your website, suddenly that didn’t before? Right? So maybe the account was in the list for six months. And suddenly, because you started doing a specific play, you’re seeing this thing happening. And that can be as well, a very simple again, a very simple metric, right? Other things, obviously, you can measure is like audience growth, but then, you know, let’s say, target buyers, you know, but also like things like qualitative feedback, you know, are you getting spontaneous messages or comments about, you know, the content that you’re sharing, again, from the relevant individuals? Are you also maybe industry recognition? Like, is it easier if you, if you’re running a podcast, like yours Chris. Is it like, suddenly easier for you to book calls? Is it easier to you know, get people to, you know, attend your events, if you’re running events, or whatever it is. So doesn’t have to be too complicated. You want to focus on revenue. But you can also look at trends. And definitely, if you have long sales cycle, look at the leading metrics, as they relate to your target, target accounts.
Christian Klepp 44:14
Yeah, and those are some really good points, and I’m glad how you’ve listed them in such a way that there are specific metrics that marketers should focus on. And they should also account for the qualitative aspect of it. Maybe not the best comparison, but it’s almost like with podcasts, not like I was on an interview, like, a couple of weeks back, and the host asked me, So what do I look at? When it comes to the KPI (Key Performance Indicator)? And I say, um, I don’t focus too much on the downloads and subscriptions. I mean, we look at them, but we just don’t take them seriously. Right? Because at the end of the day, it is a vanity metric, right? Like, can you see like, wow, the 10,000 downloads, but at the end of the day, what I look at is like, for example, things like completion rates, because that tells you, that tells you that tells me at least how interested people are in the content because if they listened to the entire episode, or do they drop off after five minutes, right. So and the same can be said in a different way, you know, for demand gen and account warm up.
Vladimir Blagojevic 45:19
Absolutely, absolutely. It is the qualitative metrics that people often forget about. And are you are your sales? Like, are your sales getting compliments? Or are they getting compliments about your content? A simple one? Right? Exactly. Are they mentioning it at all? Right? Yeah. So doesn’t have to doesn’t have to… people tend to make this question complicated.
Christian Klepp 45:45
Yeah, that’s absolutely right. So, Vlad, this is an opportunity for you to get up on stage or on your soapbox, or whatever they want to call it. But talk to us about a status quo that you passionately disagree with an why.
Vladimir Blagojevic 46:04
Yes, so I think we spoke about one being the scalability obsession. But there is another one, and we spoke about, for example, dark social rights and trends. And I’m not a big fan of trends, really, because you have people who are saying email is dead, cold calling is dead, MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead) is dead, you know, it’s all about dark social, it’s you shouldn’t gate all the content. But you know what, at the end, all of these channels evolve, there is I think it was Andrew Chen, who said, who has this law of shitty click-throughs, every channel will deteriorate over time. That’s just the fact. things evolve, and you need to evolve, right? So you can use these channels, if your buyers that understand those challenges, you can use this too, you can use the MQL if it’s properly defined, and if you’re not sending MQLs to sales, right. And actually, people look at trends and they’re looking at, you know, whatever silver bullets, but at the end, there is no silver bullet, there is no new channel that is going to unlock the flood of leads. It is about doing the foundation right and implementing the complete puzzle. Right? It’s not skipping steps, because now you want to rush to the execution and tactics. But implementing the complete puzzle. That’s why we talk a lot about. That’s why even in our name, full funnel, we talks about full funnel marketing is the complete puzzle that actually delivers the result. And there is no magic in it. It’s just doing the work completely and not skipping the foundation.
Christian Klepp 47:53
100% agree with that approach. And only also because I get that kind of pushback sometimes from our clients. So I’m the I’m the B2B branding guy. I’m the brand strategist guy. And sometimes we talk to prospects, and they say, Yeah, but Chris, we don’t need all that brand strategy stuff, just jump straight into the implementation. And I said, Okay, let’s put it this way, if you don’t do that part, and I always go back to like the real estate analogy, which is, or the property analogy is where you’re building a house, right? And you’re building the house, and you have the contractor and all the building materials, but you don’t have the architects blueprints, and nobody knows what the house is going to look like when it’s done. So the contractor will know how to build the house and use the material. But if you don’t give them a blueprint, it you know, they don’t know where to allocate the resources, they will not know what the end product will look like. They cannot determine the lead time. There’s a lot of factors that come into play. And by that same token, I mean, for me, that’s the same situation applies and brand strategy. So just going back to what you’re saying about like skipping steps.
Vladimir Blagojevic 49:03
Using the same metaphor, it’s like building a house and, you know, putting the most modern the decoration of windows and whatever doors before having that solid foundation, right, having this metaphor. Yeah, it is it is what a lot of people are doing. And it’s just window dressing. In the end, you need that foundation, if you want to build something that is… talk about scalability that is really scalable over the long term.
Christian Klepp 49:31
Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. Vlad, thank you so much for coming on the show. I mean, you know, as expected, this was an extremely informative conversation. So very quickly, an intro to yourself how people can get in touch with you and tell us a little bit about this upcoming summit that you guys are having at the end of this month. I believe it is.
Vladimir Blagojevic 49:54
Well thank you for an easy question. So I’m working with Andrei Zinkevich on full funnel. fullfunnel.io is where people can find us. Obviously LinkedIn is where we hang out every day. Just I am sure you will drop the link of my profile in the podcast description. About me, I’ve actually started my career as a software developer. Before I moved to the dark side, I never consider myself… But I always consider myself very just intellectual, never commercial person, before I realized that actually sales is all about helping people and understanding and, you know, advising them at the end. And so that’s when I fell in love with sales and, you know, caught the commercial bug, and have been doing that for the last, you know, actually selling and marketing B2B tech and services since 2006. Been enjoying that, especially since I joined forces with Andrei, Full Funnel. And you know, I mentioned at the beginning was describing this pyramid is what we do, essentially for ourselves, just two guys doing this obviously part time because we also have to run the business, serve our clients. So one of the things that we do every year, and like you said, The time is now we run this Full Funnel B2B marketing summit this year, we decided to keep it a bit simpler. Last year, we had 40 speakers ful week, realized that a lot of people had a kind of a paradox of choice, right? And now we decided to make it so that it’s easy choice, you can just come and watch all the sessions. We have three days 15 sessions, 16 B2B marketing leaders, we have Peep Laja, we have Chris Walker, we have people from the industry, we have the senior ABM Director of Gong. Corrina Owensshe she’s coming to speak. I had her yesterday on a podcast. She’s just amazing. So we have a lot of good speakers. And I’m sure you’ll drop the link as well in the description. Check them out, it’s free to attend. During the… it’s live. So you can come and ask questions, engage with people, we had Pipe Laja for example, break down messaging and websites live on the on the call on the on the session. So if you want some of that, come over and we’re gonna have a blast, I’m sure.
Christian Klepp 52:27
Fantastic. Fantastic. Vlad once again, thank you so much for your time. Take care, stay safe, and I’ll talk to you soon.
Vladimir Blagojevic 52:34
Thanks for having me. It was a lot of fun.
Christian Klepp 52:38
Thanks. Bye for now.
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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