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 within an account and they tend to, at least in myexperience, 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 executivesstay on the cutting edge of sales and marketing in their industry. Let'sget 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 gladto be with you today. Thank you very much. So before we getstarted, both obviously you and I have a deal botry to meet quote afew times and speak in the past, but can you show it a bitmore about yourself, what you do and kind of your background pace? Sure. Yeah, so I've been doing marketing and product management, primarily in thecybersecurity industry for the last twenty years. I'm currently the chief marketing officer fora company called KSE seven security, based out of India, and there aprovider 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 stagecompanies. Today there's so many cybersecurity startups and not enough marketing town to goaround, so I have some fun with that, you know. Other thanthat, I generally will do insulting around marketing strategy and go and go tomarket strategy. Good. Well, thank you very much for that. Sothe top thing that we wanted to discuss today is around using executive events aspart of an ABM account base marketing strategy. ABM, is that sort of thebuzz world in the marketing industry. Obviously events I've always been parts ofthe marketing mixed but it would be interesting to understand from you. I'll doto marry together and I would you encourage ABM initiatives through the promotion of verytail old and I qualified events. Sure.

Well, I think the best wayto look at executive events, you know, maybe for people who aren'tquite as familiar with them or haven't actually run them for their company, ormaybe even not even as part of an ABM program but they don't have reallyany, any experience with executive level events. I think a good way to lookat it is to is to sort of compare them to the traditional industrytrade shows and conferences that most people are, you know, very familiar with andthat 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 talkingabout shows like RSA, black hat, Infosecma, which just happened week ortwo ago. Yes, what do you your suspects? Yeah, exactly.And you know, every industry as their big show or they're one or twobig shows or conferences, and these shows are usually big, expensive, expensiveto do, but they attracted very large and broad audience and partly 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 know,it'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. Isthe difference between while the energy that we take is a difference between fishing andhunting. Well, when you have to show you can a fishing mode whereyou are waiting for people to come in a way. So even if thereis 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 actuallywalk with our clients to drive traffic, and often that traffic is not actuallyat on the main flo itself. It could be hotel suites around the eventwhere you can have a little bit more of you can. You can basicallytake the prospect of that's very busy,...

...scary, noisy, very difficult toget on time, very easily interrupted sort of context and main flow and andand bring them to something that is much more, you know, quite whereyou can get your meeting on time, you can have a full and conversationand and prospect do tend to like that as well, because hes them threwnucks. So yeah, we we know the fitting. Yeah, and andyou know the thing is, you know, you know, the reality is thatthose large trade shows serve many different functions for a company, everything from, you know, PR and media opportunities, Biz Dev and partner meetings, thoughtLeadership Conference speaking. There's so many functions that a large trade show likethat served, aside from just lead generation, and so I think that in alot of cases, those those shows can provide excellent value and Roi forcompanies 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 realityis that also that there's a lot of smaller and a less experience companies thataren'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, companiesthat complain about those shows and say, Oh, you know, we neverget a good Roi, and then other ones that say, Oh, youknow, this last Rsa, we killed it, it was awesome and it'sit's all a matter of preparation, strategy and, as I said, ifyour company is sort of, you know, correctly positioned in the market place andand you're in you're in the right place to execute and take advantage ofthat. It can those shows can be great, but when we look atwe 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 kindof strategy right it and so while those shows can certainly fit into an ABMstrategy, there's certain aspects to abm that those shows don't really lend themselves verywell to, which is, you know,...

...essentially lead quality and account targeting andengagement. Those shows tend to be a very broad based, very hardto target particular accounts. You can do it obviously, obviously the way youdescribed, which is pre event engaging with with prospects and customers and setting upmeetings and things like that, but in terms of new accounts, you sortof 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 usa more selective amore till old, a more, I guess, lower,with less individuals? So, yeah, but most selective type of events ofyou you would run instead of going to the to the industry events, almostrunning your own sort of events. Is Up what you are kind of goingwith your explanation? Yeah, so executives are generally small, invite only VIPtype events, such as executive dinners, lunches, executive round tables, andthey'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 reallytry to focus on account engagement it, you know, and I think that'swhere executive events really excel. And the thing is that executive events or somethingI think, you know, a really nice thing about them is that they'revery 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 canhelp you maintain momentum between the major trade shows and conferences. In Cyber Securitywe've got basically Ursa, got black hat info SAC, which is a,you know, in a Mida. But you know, the thing is thatthere'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 orsomething that you can continue to execute upon throughout the year. So it turnedis if you're almost like a branding exhaust size, almost like a Pi exhaustsays and getting your big booze and get getting people around people, wear inyour Polo shots and and and it's so fun. Will often see vendo speakingto 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'sit'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 atactic not to ton up right, because people would want done. They wouldprobably get them to speak about you. But yeah, no, I appreciateexactly what you are saying, because we get that fit back like on aconsistent basis. You mentioned in for Sake. So it's a should happened a fewweeks ago now in a in London and we always ask the question toour clients and the prospect that we meet. How do you calculate the written oninvestment? Some of them will tell us. Well, ask can athousand people? Some of them is the number of Tshirt they've been giving giventhey'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? Someof 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 downthe 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 themor 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 thereis. I do think to do to kind of close up from the pointthat it's really around that brand recognition pr look at me, I'm here andI've got all my team and worlwells and color sometimes, and then really anambition of acquiring customers in a way. Right, right, and you knowso exactly. The events tend to focus on the high level executives within anaccount 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 accountbased 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 asone of the touch out of an account by his marketing approachable in an accountbased marketing strategy. You generally, by definition, you know who your targetaccounts are. You know that's that's kind of the basis and the foundation ofABM, right, and so I think you know the way that you canuse, you know, executive events is well, a couple different ways interms of the execution. But you know, I think the main difference that peopleneed to sort of, you know, keep in mind and get and sortof get their head around in terms of the executive events is that you'rereally not doing them for lead generation, right, as I said, youknow who your top prospect accounts are, right, so you're trying to getto 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, maybeat a large industry trade show or conference, scheduling a customer appreciation dinner, but one where you invite both your both prospects and customers, and getboth of those people in the same room where you know you're going to makeyour customer feel like a VIP for the evening and at the same time theybecome, you know, spokespeople and provide recommendations prospects that are in the room. And so, you know, I think the main difference in terms ofwhat you're using executive events for, compared to maybe a bigger trade shows isthat it's not really about lead generation. What it's about is impact on yourfunnel. 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 thepipeline 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 pushingit would be about engaging we people. You've already got kind of deal isgoing on, all conversation with the company, on the organizations and inviting them tothis 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 ofthe company. But when you do executive events, your you should be sendingyour what I call your a team, you know, and so it's agood way to put your best thought leaders, your best speakers. In the caseof start up, so it's oftentimes the CEO, the founder, theCTEO, you know, you're putting your best people in front of the seniorexecutive, senior executives from these target accounts, and so it's a really great opportunityfor them to build thought leadership and and really tell the company's story ina way that is not a hard sell or, you know, not asales company sales or product pitch. Yeah, I think that makes perfect sense andwe've been we've been in the situational said. Actually with your stup boatwe've been able to meet with individuals in a very relaxed environment and I rememberas discussing about the feather that we absolutely don't want to pitch. We wantto discuss. If someone wants to pitch, we can. We can do thatnext week. We'll have to do it straight away. In some ofthe measure of success and rettal investment, is it really on appreciating a Mugthe papers moving forward, or is that use a cree tell ya or yoursa KPI? Is that you would you would suggest as a good way toevaluate a well organized executive event? A spot of an ABM approach? Sure. Well, I said that Lee generation isn't really the primary focus. Itis, of course, one metric. I mean you you are potentially goingto open new deals from these types of...

...events. So that is it iscertainly one metric, but because these tend to be low volume, high qualitytypes types of events from a numbers perspective, what tends to be more important isthe influence that the events are having on your on your pipeline, somoving counts down the pipeline and and eventually, obviously, you know, closing andturning into revenue, you know. So those are primary ones that youwant to look at. I mean, I think that I think the mainissue for are most 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, 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 thesetypes of things. And also if you're the kind of company that has asomewhat 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 inthe short term. If you have a long sale cycle, if you havea high maybe a high value, you know average order value of few hundredthousand dollars or maybe even a million dollars or more. You're going to haveprobably a longer sales cycle and you have to design your event program for alonger term perspective. So it's not something that you can that you can evaluatein a quarter. I think that's fair. I think this is a this isa touch spot of a multi touch process and I think you're completely rightin the in the way you put it together. It could be an importanttouch because would be maybe some of your people will be responding better. Prospectwould respond better on a face to face meeting within their own offices, andsometimes we see that taking people out of there. I would not cut itconfult zone, but they are known zoon what I used to be, andsharing sort leadership, because I think that's...

...very important. We've seen, andI'd like you know, to get your opinion on that, but we've seenthe content of some events being very solution intensive, pitching intensive and trying totake 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 goout of the office, they don't go to dinner somewhere to have that sortof presentation. They may want to have a light touch on the site fromselfs person or an executive from the organization, because obviously they are there. Youknow, someone is paying for their food and drinks. But we seethe Seine mistakes happening. Do you see any as a mistake being made inthe Organization of this? Even so, I guess you have recommendation of thingsto avoid when you run events. Well, you know, let me why don'tI kind of give you my instead of like things to avoid, whydon'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 rightpeople internally your company. As I said before, executive events, you needto 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 hearyour 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 yougo to an executive dinner with Cisco. You're not expecting the CEO of Ciscoto be there to address you. But we deal with a lot of startupsand you know, with startups often it's the case that's the CEO, thefounder 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 puttingon is that when a company has done these types of events before and theyknow 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 leadershiptype of conversation, and then that's when I see companies sort of get intotrouble. The second point I would say is, and this is sort oftouches on what I just said, which is the objective really here is toeducate and build your thought leadership. Now, yeah, executives are busy people,you know. You know, most of them are not going to takethe time to attend your event just, you know, just for a goodmeal and wine. They attend because they're interested in and looking to learn somethingabout the topic of your you know, sort of thought leadership talk that you'regoing to give, and so they've already shown interest in problem set that yourcompany and your solution addresses. Right. So so during the event, youknow, focus on educating and influencing, influencing their point of view around thesubject, but avoid any type of company or product sales pitch, because ifyou do the thought leadership well, what what generally happens, what I've seentime and time again, is that you get their interest. Right, whathappens is they start naturally just asking you questions about your company and your company'ssolution and how you help customers solve this problem. So you'd get to doa little bit of a pitch anyway, but you do it in a nonthreateningkind of way where they're asking you for it versus you pushing it on thatand that's and that's definitely very helpful. I mean, we being having experiencein being in a lot of self cycles. It's a little bit like when someoneasked you what you do after being warmly introduced by one of your clientsto someone at yours, end up in the conversation. That is much moreyou can you can tell from the body language and once you've got someone sayokay, well, you actually smart people. You know your stuff. It wasan interesting conversation. You have an interesting point of you I'm interested aboutyour point of view and the way you look at things and I'd like toknow more about your solution. Yeah, it is indeed a very, very, very good step in the process, or at least a very, veryhelpful 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 oflowers their guard and then ends up with them asking you questions that thatyou 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 insightto them. I mean there is a lot of experience that you shared withus 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 justjust a Baux Roberts at gmailcom. I also have the YAHOOCOM and youknow most of the others as well, but box Roberts at gmailcom, whichis just bea. You are Oberts at Gmail. You can also find meon 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 tookingto you. Really appreciates your time and insight. I'm again thank you verymuch, book well, thanks for having me where. I really enjoyed it. operatics has redefined the meaning of revenue generation for technology companies worldwide. Whilethe traditional concepts of building and managing inside sales teams inhouse has existed for manyyears, companies are struggling with a lack of focus, agility and scale requiredin today's fast and complex world of enterprise technology sales. See How operatics canhelp your company accelerate pipeline at operatics dotnet. You've been listening to be tob revenueacceleration. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to theshow in your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Untilnext time,.

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