B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 4 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 the high level executives within an account and they tend to, at least in my experience, in my recommendation. As you you focus on a thought leadership message. You're listening to be tob revenue acceleration, a podcast dedicated to helping software executives stay on the cutting edge of sales and marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show. Hi, welcome to be to be revenue exceederation. My name is on em with yer and I'm here today with bull robelts bow. How are you today? Hi. Right, I'm doing great and glad to be with you today. Thank you very much. So before we get started, both obviously you and I have a deal botry to meet quote a few times and speak in the past, but can you show it a bit more about yourself, what you do and kind of your background pace? Sure. Yeah, so I've been doing marketing and product management, primarily in the cybersecurity industry for the last twenty years. I'm currently the chief marketing officer for a company called KSE seven security, based out of India, and there a provider of endpoints security solutions for business and consumers. In my spare time. I also like to advise some early stage cybersecurity start up and help early stage companies. Today there's so many cybersecurity startups and not enough marketing town to go around, so I have some fun with that, you know. Other than that, I generally will do insulting around marketing strategy and go and go to market strategy. Good. Well, thank you very much for that. So the top thing that we wanted to discuss today is around using executive events as part of an ABM account base marketing strategy. ABM, is that sort of the buzz world in the marketing industry. Obviously events I've always been parts of the marketing mixed but it would be interesting to understand from you. I'll do to marry together and I would you encourage ABM initiatives through the promotion of very tail old and I qualified events. Sure.

Well, I think the best way to look at executive events, you know, maybe for people who aren't quite as familiar with them or haven't actually run them for their company, or maybe even not even as part of an ABM program but they don't have really any, any experience with executive level events. I think a good way to look at it is to is to sort of compare them to the traditional industry trade shows and conferences that most people are, you know, very familiar with and that generally account for the majority of company's event budgets, you know, historically. Yeah, so, you know, in Cyber Security, for instance, you know, you, you and I know. Well, we're talking about shows like RSA, black hat, Infosecma, which just happened week or two ago. Yes, what do you your suspects? Yeah, exactly. And you know, every industry as their big show or they're one or two big shows or conferences, and these shows are usually big, expensive, expensive to do, but they attracted very large and broad audience and partly success for these 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 know, it's such a broad audience and you don't know who's going to show up at the show every year. That's yeah, yeah, it's for me. Is the difference between while the energy that we take is a difference between fishing and hunting. Well, when you have to show you can a fishing mode where you are waiting for people to come in a way. So even if there is a trade show taking place with the like of the one you mentioned, but also many other of that we walk on in the industry. We actually walk with our clients to drive traffic, and often that traffic is not actually at on the main flo itself. It could be hotel suites around the event where you can have a little bit more of you can. You can basically take the prospect of that's very busy,...

...scary, noisy, very difficult to get on time, very easily interrupted sort of context and main flow and and and bring them to something that is much more, you know, quite where you can get your meeting on time, you can have a full and conversation and and prospect do tend to like that as well, because hes them threw nucks. So yeah, we we know the fitting. Yeah, and and you know the thing is, you know, you know, the reality is that those large trade shows serve many different functions for a company, everything from, you know, PR and media opportunities, Biz Dev and partner meetings, thought Leadership Conference speaking. There's so many functions that a large trade show like that served, aside from just lead generation, and so I think that in a lot of cases, those those shows can provide excellent value and Roi for companies you know that our position correctly and then know how to execute. No, how and have the ability to execute those types of shows. The reality is that also that there's a lot of smaller and a less experience companies that aren't position correctly and don't really have the ability to execute properly. You know, you sort of have both scenarios. I've seen, you know, companies that complain about those shows and say, Oh, you know, we never get a good Roi, and then other ones that say, Oh, you know, this last Rsa, we killed it, it was awesome and it's it's all a matter of preparation, strategy and, as I said, if your company is sort of, you know, correctly positioned in the market place and and you're in you're in the right place to execute and take advantage of that. It can those shows can be great, but when we look at we look at things from an account based marketing perspective. However, you know, it's a little bit of a different well, it's a very different kind of strategy right it and so while those shows can certainly fit into an ABM strategy, there's certain aspects to abm that those shows don't really lend themselves very well to, which is, you know,...

...essentially lead quality and account targeting and engagement. Those shows tend to be a very broad based, very hard to target particular accounts. You can do it obviously, obviously the way you described, which is pre event engaging with with prospects and customers and setting up meetings and things like that, but in terms 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 the Indom of DABM, I guess. Well, you are driving at the moment? Are you driving to us a more selective amore till old, a more, I guess, lower, with less individuals? So, yeah, but most selective type of events of you you would run instead of going to the to the industry events, almost running your own sort of events. Is Up what you are kind of going with your explanation? Yeah, so executives are generally small, invite only VIP type events, such as executive dinners, lunches, executive round tables, and they're targeted at your key prospect and customer accounts. Right. So, so, as I mentioned ABM strategies tend to prioritize lead quality over quantity and really try to focus on account engagement it, you know, and I think that's where executive events really excel. And the thing is that executive events or something I think, you know, a really nice thing about them is that they're very flexible. They can be used to augment your trade show and conference strategy. They can be used to target specific industry verticals maybe geographically. They can help you maintain momentum between the major trade shows and conferences. In Cyber Security we've got basically Ursa, got black hat info SAC, which is a, you know, in a Mida. But you know, the thing is that there's large gaps in the year when between those shows, right. So, so those shows are great, but they're...

...not really something that's very scalable or something that you can continue to execute upon throughout the year. So it turned is if you're almost like a branding exhaust size, almost like a Pi exhaust says and getting your big booze and get getting people around people, wear in your Polo shots and and and it's so fun. Will often see vendo speaking to it shows. I'm comparing, you know, it shows US presence. So yeah, you almost feel like it's you've got to be there because it's it's it's almost like a brain reputation. It's if you are not there, people will want all why you are not there. So that could be a tactic not to ton up right, because people would want done. They would probably get them to speak about you. But yeah, no, I appreciate exactly what you are saying, because we get that fit back like on a consistent basis. You mentioned in for Sake. So it's a should happened a few weeks ago now in a in London and we always ask the question to our clients and the prospect that we meet. How do you calculate the written on investment? Some of them will tell us. Well, ask can a thousand people? Some of them is the number of Tshirt they've been giving given they've given to people. Some of them would be the feeling as well. We felt that were a good day, because what if your conversation? Some of them will be demos, which I think is a good metrics actually demos, because you can scan me. I'm not a prospect if I'm working down the main show room. However, I would not listen to a demo, because I don't really have the times of the people at would listen to them or maybe a best, you know, a better way to evaluate success, but it's a tough one. It's so tough and and I don't think there is. I do think to do to kind of close up from the point that it's really around that brand recognition pr look at me, I'm here and I've got all my team and worlwells and color sometimes, and then really an ambition of acquiring customers in a way. Right, right, and you know so exactly. The events tend to focus on the high level executives within an account and they tend to, at least...

...in my experience and my recommendation, as you you focus on a thought leadership message. Coming back to the account based marketing approach and coming back to the type of prospect that you approach. How do you you you incorporate them? I would you be incorporate events as one of the touch out of an account by his marketing approachable in an account based marketing strategy. You generally, by definition, you know who your target accounts are. You know that's that's kind of the basis and the foundation of ABM, right, and so I think you know the way that you can use, you know, executive events is well, a couple different ways in terms of the execution. But you know, I think the main difference that people need to sort of, you know, keep in mind and get and sort of get their head around in terms of the executive events is that you're really not doing them for lead generation, right, as I said, you know who your top prospect accounts are, right, so you're trying to get to them, you're trying to engage them and get high quality engagement with them. And so using things like executive dinners, maybe doing a road show, maybe at a large industry trade show or conference, scheduling a customer appreciation dinner, but one where you invite both your both prospects and customers, and get both of those people in the same room where you know you're going to make your customer feel like a VIP for the evening and at the same time they become, you know, spokespeople and provide recommendations prospects that are in the room. And so, you know, I think the main difference in terms of what you're using executive events for, compared to maybe a bigger trade shows is that it's not really about lead generation. What it's about is impact on your funnel. So influence on your funnel, the moving deals faster through the funnel, helping deals to close, and so now really it's that influence on the pipeline and and and ultimately revenue that you...

...want to be measuring with executive events. Okay, so you're taking a book more of razandern generation, of pushing it would be about engaging we people. You've already got kind of deal is going on, all conversation with the company, on the organizations and inviting them to this events and give them maybe a more relax on the stunding off. We you are what you do to accelerate the sorts like cord exactly, okay, exactly so. And generally speaking, when you depends on the size of the company. But when you do executive events, your you should be sending your what I call your a team, you know, and so it's a good way to put your best thought leaders, your best speakers. In the case of start up, so it's oftentimes the CEO, the founder, the CTEO, you know, you're putting your best people in front of the senior executive, senior executives from these target accounts, and so it's a really great opportunity for them to build thought leadership and and really tell the company's story in a way that is not a hard sell or, you know, not a sales company sales or product pitch. Yeah, I think that makes perfect sense and we've been we've been in the situational said. Actually with your stup boat we've been able to meet with individuals in a very relaxed environment and I remember as discussing about the feather that we absolutely don't want to pitch. We want to discuss. If someone wants to pitch, we can. We can do that next week. We'll have to do it straight away. In some of the measure of success and rettal investment, is it really on appreciating a Mug the papers moving forward, or is that use a cree tell ya or yours a KPI? Is that you would you would suggest as a good way to evaluate a well organized executive event? A spot of an ABM approach? Sure. Well, I said that Lee generation isn't really the primary focus. It is, of course, one metric. I mean you you are potentially going to open new deals from these types of...

...events. So that is it is certainly one metric, but because these tend to be low volume, high quality types types of events from a numbers perspective, what tends to be more important is the influence that the events are having on your on your pipeline, so moving counts down the pipeline and and eventually, obviously, you know, closing and turning into revenue, you know. So those are primary ones that you want to look at. I mean, I think that I think the main issue for are most companies who are either not currently doing abm or maybe they've just started but are still kind of very early in their abm kind of journey, is that most of them don't have, don't have the proper, you know, porting tracking and reporting tools from MARTEC perspective to easily report on these types of things. And also if you're the kind of company that has a somewhat of a long sale cycle, like six, nine, hundred and twelve, even, you know, more than twelve months of a sales cycle, then it becomes becomes more difficult to measure the results of a particular event in the short term. If you have a long sale cycle, if you have a high maybe a high value, you know average order value of few hundred thousand dollars or maybe even a million dollars or more. You're going to have probably a longer sales cycle and you have to design your event program for a longer term perspective. So it's not something that you can that you can evaluate in a quarter. I think that's fair. I think this is a this is a touch spot of a multi touch process and I think you're completely right in the in the way you put it together. It could be an important touch because would be maybe some of your people will be responding better. Prospect would respond better on a face to face meeting within their own offices, and sometimes we see that taking people out of there. I would not cut it confult zone, but they are known zoon what I used to be, and sharing sort leadership, because I think that's...

...very important. We've seen, and I'd like you know, to get your opinion on that, but we've seen the content of some events being very solution intensive, pitching intensive and trying to take people through a two hours poupoint presentation before actually moving on to dinner. And I think he's just terrible because people don't want that. People don't go out of the office, they don't go to dinner somewhere to have that sort of presentation. They may want to have a light touch on the site from selfs person or an executive from the organization, because obviously they are there. You know, someone is paying for their food and drinks. But we see the Seine mistakes happening. Do you see any as a mistake being made in the Organization of this? Even so, I guess you have recommendation of things to avoid when you run events. Well, you know, let me why don't I kind of give you my instead of like things to avoid, why don't I give you my things to do, which would include things to avoid? First as, you got to get buy in and participation from the right people internally your company. As I said before, executive events, you need to bring your a team. Generally speaking, you're a startup or smaller company, executives wants a network and socialize with other executives. They want to hear your thought leadership story from a senior leader, not, you know, maybe not, maybe the sales rap or the or the see and you know, depending on the size of your company. I mean, obviously, if you go to an executive dinner with Cisco. You're not expecting the CEO of Cisco to be there to address you. But we deal with a lot of startups and you know, with startups often it's the case that's the CEO, the founder of the CTO, and you really have to have, you know, that really tight coordination between sales and marketing and the exact team. So, you know, what I've noticed in terms of the events that I've been putting on is that when a company has done these types of events before and they know how to do them, you know that they have a lot of success, you know. But if these types of events are new to them, they haven't done them before, they don't...

...understand the fact that it's thought leadership type of conversation, and then that's when I see companies sort of get into trouble. The second 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 thought leadership. Now, yeah, executives are busy people, you know. You know, most of them are not going to take the time to attend your event just, you know, just for a good meal and wine. They attend because they're interested in and looking to learn something about the topic of your you know, sort of thought leadership talk that you're going to give, and so they've already shown interest in problem set that your company and your solution addresses. Right. So so during the event, you know, focus on educating and influencing, influencing their point of view around the subject, but avoid any type of company 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 you get their interest. Right, what happens is they start naturally just asking you questions about your company and your company's solution and how you help customers solve this problem. So you'd get to do a little bit of a pitch anyway, but you do it in a nonthreatening kind of way where they're asking you for it versus you pushing it on that and that's and that's definitely very helpful. I mean, we being having experience in being in a lot of self cycles. It's a little bit like when someone asked you what you do after being warmly introduced by one of your clients to someone at yours, end up in the conversation. That is much more you can you can tell from the body language and once you've got someone say okay, well, you actually smart people. You know your stuff. It was an interesting conversation. You have an interesting point of you I'm interested about your point of view and the way you look at things and I'd like to know more about your solution. Yeah, it is indeed a very, very, very good step in the process, or at least a very, very helpful way to turn the situation around and offer the pitch. I'm yeah, leadership allows you to establish credibility up front,...

...right, and then that sort of lowers their guard and then ends up with them asking you questions that that you can then use to go into your company and your and your solution. So yeah, absolutely, thank you very much both for the for the insight to them. I mean there is a lot of experience that you shared with us and was thankful for that. If anyone wants to King toquease you. If anyone of our lease now wants to get in touch whiz Bo row belts, what is the best way to connect with you? Sure? Well, probably the best way to connect with me, as my personal email address was just just a Baux Roberts at gmailcom. I also have the YAHOOCOM and you know most of the others as well, but box Roberts at gmailcom, which is just bea. You are Oberts at Gmail. You can also find me on twitter at Bo Roberts and and also linkedin as well. Accident. Excellent. What thank you very much for a time. Today's been a fantastic tooking to you. Really appreciates your time and insight. I'm again thank you very much, book well, thanks for having me where. I really enjoyed it. operatics has redefined the meaning of revenue generation for technology companies worldwide. While the traditional concepts of building and managing inside sales teams inhouse has existed for many years, companies are struggling with a lack of focus, agility and scale required in today's fast and complex world of enterprise technology sales. See How operatics can help your company accelerate pipeline at operatics dotnet. You've been listening to be tob revenue acceleration. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (138)