B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 3 years ago

5: Executive Events as Part of an ABM Strategy w/ Beau Roberts

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Executive events can enhance an Account-based Marketing strategy, but they require a different kind of planning, execution, and evaluation than a traditional events strategy. Executive events are about impact or influence on your funnel, ultimately creating measurable increases in revenue.

We invited Beau Roberts to come on a B2B Revenue Acceleration podcast to talk about how to use executive events as part of a low-volume, high-quality marketing initiative.

Executive events tend to focus on thehigh level executives that within an account- and they tend to at least inmy experience and my recommendation- is you focus on a thought, leadershipmessage: You're listening to be to B RevenueAcceleration, a podcast dedicated helping software executives stay on thecutting edge of sales and marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show hi welcome to be to be revenueacceleration. My name is Onam with he and I'm here today with Bor Roberts Bot.How are you today a Riat I'm doing great and Li be with you today. Thankyou very much so before we get started Bo. Obviously you and I have a dopotryto meet quit a few times and speak in the past. But can you share a littlebit more about yourself what you do and kind of your background place, SureYeah? So I've been doing marketing and product management, primarily in theCIDBER security industry. For the last twenty years, I'm currently the chiefmarketing officer for a company called K. seven security based out of Indiaand they're a provider of n point security, solutions for business andconsumers. In my spare time, I also like to advise some early stage: CIBERsecurity startup and help early stage companies today, there's so many cibersecurity startups and not enough marketing talent to go around. So Ihave some fun with that. You know other than that. I generally will doconsulting around marketing strategy and goat and go to market strategy goodUr. Thank you, Vor y much for that. So the topic that we wantyou to discusstoday is around using executive events. A POT OF ANABM account base marketingstrategy. ABM is that sort of the of a birsh world in the marketing industry.Obviously, events have always been parts of the marketing mixed, but itwould be interesting to understond from you oude two married together and Oudo.You encourage ABM initiatives through...

...the promotion of very tallor andiquatified events sure well. I think the best way to look at executiveevents. You know maybe for people who aren't quite as familiar with them orhaven't actually run them for their company or maybe even not even as partof an ABM program, but they don't have really any any experience withexecutive level. Events, I think a good way to look at it is, is to sort ofcompare them to the traditional industry, trade shows and conferencesthat most people are, you know very familiar with, and that generallyaccount for the majority of company's event budgets. You know historicallyyeah, so you know incyber security, for instance. You know you you and I knowwell we're talking about shows like RSA, black hat INFHOSECMEA, which justhappened a week or two ago. Yes, Yeaho S, your suspects yeah exactly and youknow every industry has their big show or there one or two big, shows orconferences, and these shows are usually big, expensive, expensive to do,but they attracta very large and broad audience and dorically success forthese types of events has been measured by the quantity of the leads collected,but lead quality has always been somewhat of an issue because you knowit's such a broad audience and you don't know who's going to show up atthe show. Every year that's yeah yeah. It's for me is the difference betweenwile. The enenogy that we take is a difference between fishing and hunting.Well, EA, when you have this, show you Gan a fe fishing moode, where you arewaiting for people to come in a way. So so so, even if there is a trade shortaking place the like of the one you mentioned, but also Manyos, of ThatweWolk on in the industry, we actually walk with our clients to drive trafficand often that traffic is not actually a on the main flow itself. Het could bepotel switzs around the event where you can have a little bit more of you. Canyou can basically take the prospect of...

...thats very busy scary, noisy, verydifficult to get on time, Veris it interrupted sort of context andmainflow and andnbring them to something that is much more Ou k, ow,quieter or you can get your meeting on time. You can have a fulon conversationand prospect do tend to like that as well, because it edps them to relax soyeah. We, we know the feeting yeah and, and you know the thing is you know youK ow. The reality is that those large trade shows serve many differentfunctions for a company. Everything from you know PR and mediaopportunities, Bisdevan partner meetings, thought Leadership Conferencespeaking there's so many functions that a large trade show like that' serveaside from just Le Generation, and so I think that in a lot of cases, thosethose shows can provide excellent value and our Li or companies. You know thatare positioned correctly and thet know how to execute, know how and have theability to execute those types of shows. The reality is tha also that there's alot of smaller and less experience, companies that aren't positionedcorrectly and don't really have the ability to execute properly. So youknow you sort of have boak scenarios. I've seen you know, companies thatcomplain about those shows and say: Oh, you know we never get a good ry andthen other ones that say: Oh yeah, this last Rsa we killed it. It was awesomeand it's Al. It's all matter of preparation strategy and, as I said,your company is sort of you know correctly, positioned in themarketplace and and you're in you're in the right place to execute and takeadvantage of that it can. Those shows can be great, but when we look at welook at things from an account base marketing perspective. However, youknow a little bit of a different. Well, it's a very different kind of strategyright and so, while those shows can certainly fit into an ABM trategy,there's certain aspects to abm that those shows don't really lendthemselves very well to which is, you...

...know, essentially lead quality andaccount targeting and engagement. Those shows tend to be. You know very broad,based very hard to target particular accounts. You can do it obviously,obviously the way you described, which is preeevent, engaging ith withprospects and customers and setting up meetings and things like that, but interms of new accounts, you sort of at the mercy of who shows up at the show,that's correct, I mean, and we see that to ha in term of DABM. I guess Wheleyou are driving at the moment. Are you driving towards more selective,mortellored, more, I guess, lower with less individual, so yeah mor selectivetype of eventsof veo would run instead of going to the the industr eventalmost running your own sort of event is: is that why you're kind of goingwith R, your explanation, yeah so exactlants are generally small, inviteonly VIP type events such as executive dinners, lunches, executive roundtables and they're targeted at your key prospect and customer accounts right soso, as I mentioned, ABM strategies tend to prioritize, lead quality overquantity and really try to focus on account engagement. You know, and Ithink that's where executive events really excel, and the thing is thatexecutive events or something that I think you know are really the Nicething about them- is that they're very flexible. They can be used to augmentyour trade show and conference strategy. They can be used to target specificindustry verticals, maybe geographically they can help. Youmaintain momentum between the major trade shows and conferences in CIBERsecurity. We've got basically RSA Gat Black Cat Infosec, which is a you know,INEMEA, but you know the thing is that there's large gaps in the year whenbetween those shows right so so those shows are great but they're, not reallysomething, that's very scalable or...

...something that you can continue toexecute upon throughout the year. So I ti I I it feel as lmost like a abraning Exhausti is almost like a Pi Exou Sison you're, getting your bigbulzs and get yourthing people around people were in your Polo shots and- andit's often we often see vendor speaking to each othere and comparing you know,IA, showsos, presente, so yeah, you almost feel like it's you've got to bethere because s, it's it's almost like a braind reputation. I 's. If you arenot there, people will wonder why you are not there. So actually that couldbe a tactic not to turn up right, because people will wont doand. Theywill probably get them to speak about you, but yeah. No, I appreciate exactlywhat Youare saying, because we get that fitback on a consistent basis, so yourmentioning forsake. So I especialy that happen a few weeks ago now in London,and we always ask tha question to our clients and the Prospethet we met Ow,you calculate the ritenal investment. Some of them will tell us well ascan athousand people. Some of them is the number of Tshirt they've been givinggiven they've given to people. Some of them would be their feeling a wel. Wefelt that were a good day, because what, if you conversation, some of them willbe demos which I think is a good metrixs actually demost, because youcan scan me, I'm not a prospect. If I'm working down the the main show room.However, I would not listen to a demo, because I don't really have the times othe people that would listen to them ore, maybe a best. You know a betterway to evaluate success, but it's ORT ofgh one, it's sort of fun and I don'tthink there is. I do thing to do to kind of croser from the point that it'sreally around that bran recognition. Pr Look at me, I'm here, and I've got allmy team and worllwells and color sometimes, and then really an ambitionof acquiring customers in a way right right and you know so. Executive eventstend to focus on the high level executives hat within an account, andthey tend to at least in my experience...

...and my recommendation. Is You focus ona thought leadership message? Coming back to Jackon base marketing aproject,coming back to the tape of Prospertat, you approach: How do you youincorporate them? Owyo, incorporate events as one of the touch out of anaccount Bas, marketing approachboo in an account base marketing strategy. Yougenerally by definition, you know who your target accounts are. You knowthat's that's kind of the the basis and the foundation of ABM right, and so Ithink you know the way that you can use you know. Executive events is well acouple different ways in terms of the execution, but you know, I think themain difference that people need to sort of you know keep in mind and getand sort of get their head around in terms of exactive events is that youreally not doing them for Leagu generation. Right, as I said, you know,wh who your top prospect accounts are right, so you're trying to get to them,you're, trying to engage them and and get high quality engagement with them,and so using things like executive dinners, maybe doing a road show, maybeat a large industry, trade show or conference scheduling a customerappreciation dinner, but one where you invite both your both prospects andcustomers and get both of those people in the same room where you know you'regoing to make your customer feel like a vip to the evening and at the same timethey become. You know spokespeople and provide recommendations, prospects thatare in the room, and so you know, I think, the main difference n terms ofwhat you're using executive events for compared to maybe the bigger tradeshows is that it's not really about leag generation. What it's about is animpact on your funnel so influence on your funnel. The moving deals fasterthrough the funnel helping deals to close, and so now really is thatinfluence on the pipeline and and and ultimately revenue that you want to bemeasuring with executive events. Okay,...

...so so you're taking a book more ofRother, an delegeneration approciate yit would be about engaging with people.You've already got kind of deals going on or conversation with with thecompany or the organizations and inviting them to Thi Events and givethem maybe more relax on Dhe stonding of who you are what you do toaccelerate this orpcycore, exactly. Okay, exactly so, and generallyspeaking, is when you depends on the size of the company. But when you doexecutive events you're, you should be sending your what I call your ateam.You know, and so it's a good way to put your bestthought leaders your best speakers in the case of startup, it's often timesthe CEO, the founder, the CTO, you know you're putting your best people know infront of the senior execut o know senior executives from these targetaccounts, and so it's a really great opportunity for them to build faugtleadership, a and really tell the company's story in a way that is not ahard cell or you know not a sales company sales or product pitch yeah. I think that makes perfect senseand we've been we've been in the situation ourself. Actually, with yourSheppotor, we've been able to meet with individuals in Ta, very relaxenvironment, and I remember US discussing about the fealhat. Weabsolutely don't want to pitch. We want to discuss. If someone wants a pitch,we can, we can do at next week. We don't have to do it straight away interm of the Mersor of success and ritnal investment. Is it trallyonappreciating our most te PAPR and his moving forward, or is there ans, Ocritea o an Yousr Kpi? Is that you would, you would suggest, as as a goodway, to evaluate a well organized executive event as port of an ABMapproach? Sure, well, I said that Le Generation isn't really he the primaryfocus. It is, of course, one metric. I mean you, you are potentially going toopen new deals from these types of...

...events, so that is, it is certainly onemetric, but because these tend to be low volume, high quality types, youknow types of events from t e numbers perspective. What tends to be moreimportant is the influence that the events are having on your on yourpipeline, so moving counts down the pipe ine and, and eventually obviously,you know closing and turning into revenue. You know, so those are primaryones that you want to look at. I mean, I think that I think the main issue formost companies who are either not currently doing abm or maybe they'vejust started but are still kind of very early in their abm kind of journey- isthat most of them don't have don't have the proper. You know porting trackingand reporting tools from MARTECH perspective to easily report on thesetypes of things, and also, if you're, the kind of company that has a somewhatof a long sale cycle like six nine twelve. Even you know more than twelvemonths of a sales cycle, then it becomes. It becomes more difficult tomeasure the results of a particular event in the short term. If you have along sale cycle, if you have a high, maybe a high value, you know averageorder value of few hundred thousand dollars, or maybe even a milliondollars or more you're, going to have probably a longer sale cycle, and youhave to design your event program for a longer term perspective. So it's notsomething that you can that you can evaluate in a cord. I think that's fail.I think this is a this is this is a touch as part of a multitsh process andI think you're completely right in the in the way you put it together. Itcould be an important touch because would be maybe some ther people will beresponding better or prospect would respond better on a face to facemeeting within their own offices. Then sometimes we see that taking people outof there. I will not create confot on, but there are known zone what they usedto be and sharing sortleader ship,...

...because I think that's very important.We' seen like you know, to get your opinion on that. But we've seen thecontent of some events being very solution: Intensive pitching INTENCIand Tring to take people through a two hours power point presentation beforeactually moving on to dinner, and I think it's just terrible, becausepeople don't want that people don't go out of the office, they don't go todinor somewhet. To have that sort of presentation. They may want to have alight touch on the side from sells person O and executive from ThetOrganization, because obviously they are there, and you know someone ispaying for their r food and drinks, but we see the cinemystiks happening. Doyou see any other mistake being made in the Organization of Duciventoy? Or Iguess you have recommendation of things to avoid when you're UN events? Well,you know, let me why don't I kind of give you my instead of like things toavoid. Why don't I give you my things to do which would include things toavoid? First, is you got to get by in and participation from the right peopleinternally at your company Yo? As I said before, executive events, you needto bring your ateam generally speaking, if you're a startup or a smallercompany, executives ante to network and socialized with other executives. Theywant to hear your thought leadership story from a senior leader. Not Youknow, maybe not maybe the sales rep or the or the SE, and you know, dependingon the size of your company, I mean, obviously, if you go to an executivedinner with Sisco you're, not expecting the CEEOF SISCO to be there to addressyou, but we deal with a lot of startups and you know with startups often it'sthe case. That's the CEO, the founder of the CTO, and you really have to haveyou know that really tight coordination between sales and marketing and theexact team. So you know what I've noticed in terms of the events thatI've been putting on is that when a company has done these types of eventsbefore and they know how to do them, you know h. They have a lot of success,you know, but if these types of events...

...are new to them, they haven't done thembefore they don't understand the fact that it's thought leadership type ofconversation and then that's when I see companies sort of get into trouble. Thesecond point I would say is- and this is sort of touches on what I just said,which is the objective really here- is to educate and build your toughtleadership. Now Yeah executives are busy people, you know you know. Most ofthem are not going to take the time to attend your event. Just you know justfor a good meal and wine. They intend, because they're interested in andlooking to learn something about the topic of your. You know sort of thoughtleadership, talk that you're going to give, and so they've already showninterest in problem set that your accompany and your solution addressesright. So so, during the event, you know focus on educating and influencinginfluencing their point of view around the subject, but avoid any type ofcompany or product sales pitch, because if you do the thought leadership well,what what generally happens? What I've seen time and time again, is that ifyou get their interest right, what happens? IS THEY START? Naturally, justasking you questions about your company and your company's solution and how youhelp. Customers solve this problem, so you'd get to do a little bit of a pitchanyway, but you do it in a nonthreatening kind of way wherethey're asking you for it versus you pushing it on them and that's andthat's definitely very eldful, I mean wit being having expienc in being in alot of certain cycles. It's a little bit like when someone ask you what youdo after being formly introduced by one of your clients to someone else. Youalways in thethe conversation hit is much more y. You can tell from the bodylanguage and once you've got someone to say, okay. Well, you actually smartpeople, you know your stuff, it was an interesting conversation. You have aninteresting point of them, Interesti about your point of view and the wayyou look at things and I'd lete to know more about your solution Yat. It isindeed a very, very, very good step in the process, or at least a very, veryhelpful way to turn the situation Aron and O for the Pitch Yeah Pot leadershipallows you to establish credibility, up...

...front right and then that sort oflowers their guard and then and ends up with them. Asking you questions thatthat you can then use to go into your company and your and your soltion soyeah absolutely thank you, formu both of the for the insight. The I meanthere is a lot of explains that you shared with us and was thankful forthat. If anyone wants to connect with you, if anyone of our listener wants toget in touch with bore robelts, what is the best way to connect with you sure?Well, probably the best way to connect with me is my personal email. Dress wasjust just a Bou Robert said gmalcom. I also have the YAHOOCOM and you knowmost of the others as well, but Bo Roberts, a gmailcom which is justbeauroberts at Gmail. You can also find me on twitter, at Bo Roberts and andalso linked in as well accident excildent. Well, thank you vor much firtime. Today's been a fantastic talking to you really appreciate your timininsight. I'm again, thank you very much boot. Well, thanks for having me rare,I really enjoyed it. operatics has redefined the meaning ofrevenue generation for technology companies worldwide, while thetraditional concepts of building and managing inside sales teams in househas existed for many years. Companies are struggling with the lack of focus,agility and scale required in today's fast and complex world of enterprisetechnology sales see how operatics can help your company accelerate pipelineat operatics. DOTNET you've been listening to be to be revenueacceleration to ensure that you never miss an episode subscribe to the showin your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening until nexttime.

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