Engagio CEO Jon Miller: How to Land a Whale

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Jon Miller is the CEO of Engagio.

In this exclusive interview, CRM Buyer discusses with Miller the new rules of engagement for sales success.

CRM Buyer: In what ways is account-based marketing related to account-based sales, sales development and customer success? Why do you think it's important to tie all of these elements together?

Jon Miller: Traditional demand-based, lead-based marketing is like fishing with a net. You run campaigns and marketing programs, and stuff comes out the other end. What the account-based world is all about is that you have a list of names, but you don't wait around to see if those big fish swim into your net. Instead, you go fishing with spears.

When I think about the process of fishing with spears, I ask, "How am I going to reach out?" If I only have marketing tactics at my disposal -- like ads, generic email blasts and direct mail -- I'm only going to be able to go so far. If you really want to reach out and connect with a decision maker at a target account, you're going to need a human to call them, send them a personal email, or reach out to them via a social channel.

If you're fishing with spears, a human is at the tip of the spear. Humans live in the sales and sales development function. You need all these different departments to work together in an orchestrated way to reach out to these target accounts.

I actually don't like the phrase "account-based marketing." That's the marketing department saying, "Hey, this is my thing." Similarly, if you have account-based sales or sales development, other functions are saying, "That's my thing." That's not the spirit we're talking about. The spirit is bringing all these departments together to be more inclusive.

CRM Buyer: Explain what it means to call the process of connecting with customers and potential customers a "play."

Miller: At the core, it comes down to a team. We're going after the big strategic accounts, and that's done with the whole team. The whole agency gets involved to ultimately land this big whale. It's a team effort -- not one person or one department.

You want to have a team, but you would never field a team with just 11 wide receivers. You wouldn't have 11 linemen. If you want to move the ball down the field, you're going to have a team to work together in a coordinated, orchestrated way. You do this, you do that, and this person is going to do this.

You don't want to just have sales involved, or just marketing, or just sales development. You want all of the players working together.

CRM Buyer: How can companies ensure cross-channel interactions between marketing, sales and customer success?

Miller: There are alignment and process issues. Alignment is more important and harder to solve. It starts with the different teams agreeing that this is how we're going to go to market, and believing that this is important.

Just like with a football team, a team mentality is key. That's the alignment piece. For the process piece, there's a workflow component. Something has to be telling each player what to do, when: "Mike, send an email to Sarah. After that email gets sent, Scooter will send the package. And once that package is delivered, Mike will be notified."

The other part of the process is that you need to change how you're thinking about measuring success. The reason for that is two-fold. The first reason is that a lot of success metrics today are based on attribution and assigning credit -- as in, "marketing generated that deal, sales generated that deal." If you have that idea of assigning credit, it's always going to work against collaboration.

Slightly more subtly, a lot of metrics are based on measuring quantity. How many people attended an event? How many leads were generated? Instead, you want to be in a world where you're measuring quality. Do the right accounts know who we are? Do the right people at those accounts spend time with us? Is the amount of time they're spending going up? These are more quality-related metrics.

CRM Buyer: How can easy access to insights help customize interactions with customers?

Miller: The death of a good customer relationship comes when a company seems disconnected or disorganized. The customer doesn't think about whether they're talking with marketing or sales. They just see interactions with the company.

A big part of analytics is bringing together everything that's happened, whether it's the person visiting the website or attending a meeting or sending an email. You need to look at all of that, not just at the person level, but at the account level.

You need to pull all the data and connect it properly at the account level, making sure it's visible to everyone. If you want to have a better customer experience, you really need to make sure you understand everything that's going on.

Freelance writer Vivian Wagner has wide-ranging interests, from technology and business to music and motorcycles. She writes features regularly for ECT News Network, and her work has also appeared in American Profile, Bluegrass Unlimited, and many other publications. For more about her, visit her website. You can also connect with Vivian on Google+.

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