Q&A with Jon Miller, Chief Marketing and Product Officer at Demandbase
Media 7 | February 16, 2021
Jon Miller, Chief Marketing and Product Officer at Demandbase, is a marketing entrepreneur and a thought leader. Previously, Jon was the CEO and founder of Engagio (acquired by Demandbase) and was a co-founder at Marketo (Nasdaq:MKTO), a leader in marketing automation.
Jon is a frequent speaker at conferences including Dreamforce, MarketingProfs B2B, Marketing Operations Executive Summit, OMS, and the Marketing Nation Summit. He is also the author of numerous e-books including Complete and Clear Guide to Account Based Marketing and the Definitive Guide to Marketing Automation.
Think big, start small, and move quickly. Customers want to get up and running quickly — in under 24 hours — and don’t have months to learn and implement a new tool.
MEDIA 7:What inspired you to move from marketing automation to ABM?
JON MILLER: While leading Marketo, we had a lead-based demand gen model in place that was really quite efficient. But, as we got closer to our IPO, we were having diminishing marginal returns from it. We realized we needed a second engine, one through which we could go and target larger companies as we wanted to move upmarket. So we started working on an outbound strategy, and we didn’t even call it account-based marketing (ABM) at the time. But that’s what it was.
We identified accounts and put together ways to go after them. It worked, which was the good news. The bad news was that it was manual, and I drove my team crazy trying to contort Marketo and Salesforce to track the things I wanted to track, since they weren’t account-based systems. When I realized the approach worked but was way too hard with the existing lead-based technologies, I was inspired to create a new platform.
M7: How do you practice ABM at Demandbase? What have you learned from utilizing your own product for lead generation?
JM: Our approach to ABM at Demandbase is two-fold. First, we believe in creating different styles of ABM for different tiers of accounts. So, we practice one-to-one marketing for a small handful; one-to-few for a larger, but still very constrained number of accounts; one-to-many for the rest of our target account universe fall into a one-to-many bucket. This blended strategy allows us to differentiate the number of resources we put into each account, based on its potential value.
Second, we drink our own champagne. We use intent data and our pipeline prediction analytics to figure out when any of our accounts are showing signs of being in the market or ready to engage in sales. When we have one of those signals present, which is what we call a marketing qualified account (MQA), we bump it up to one-to-few or one-to-one so we can focus extra time and attention on those hot in market accounts.
We drink our own champagne. We use intent data and our pipeline prediction analytics to figure out when any of our accounts are showing signs of being in the market or ready to engage in sales.
M7: What is your marketing mantra to stand out in an overly saturated MarTech space?
JM: Our core mantra is “Think big, start small, and move quickly.” Customers want to get up and running quickly — in under 24 hours — and don’t have months to learn and implement a new tool. So, we want the product to be incredibly easy to use, and fast to get up and running. But at the end of the day, our users are sophisticated enterprises executing complicated strategies. ABM can be very powerful, and we don't want to give people a tinker toy. So, while we make the common and easy things super easy, we also strive to make the hard things possible. The solution has a ton of power and flexibility, which lets our customers evolve and adapt as they grow in ABM sophistication.
M7: What do you believe are the top three marketing challenges in the post COVID-19 era?
JM: COVID-19 accelerated six years of digital in six months. So, buyers who may have never thought of conducting a complex B2B purchase entirely online have now become incredibly accustomed to doing that kind of a thing. In order to succeed post-pandemic and beyond, marketers will need to continue to lean into their digital transformation and optimize their digital strategy.
Furthermore, COVID-19 has raised buyer expectations, so organizations must retrain themselves in their sales approach. Salespeople shouldn’t jump on "everything that wiggles" or follow up on every single campaign response. Instead, they must really know where each buyer is in their journey and align their go-to-market to the appropriate actions accordingly.
Finally, the pandemic has shown that some companies have thrived during this period, like Zoom, and other companies have struggled a lot harder. So, another challenge in the wake of COVID is that marketers need to revisit their target account lists to really understand which industries and companies are doing well, so they can double down on their growth.
COVID-19 accelerated six years of digital in six months. Buyers who may have never thought of conducting a complex B2B purchase entirely online have now become incredibly accustomed to doing that kind of a thing.
M7: What do you read, and how do you consume information to stay at the top of your game?
JM: Whenever I need to speak or write about a topic, I make sure to educate myself about it as much as possible. Luckily, one of my “superpowers” is synthesis. I'm really good at just absorbing a ton of information, from what I read and watch. Just attach me to the fire hose and I can bring it all in and connect the dots.
Also, as I’m working with my team on product development, we’re always innovating the product based on customer demands and needs. So I’m constantly learning by listening to customers and seeing how they’re operating.
Demandbase offers the only end-to-end ABM Platform that helps B2B companies identify, win and grow the accounts that matter most. Our success would not be possible without the driven and collaborative teams here at Demandbase. As a company, we’re as committed to growing careers as we are to building world-class technology. We invest heavily in people, our culture and the community around us, and have continuously been recognized as one of the best places to work in the Bay Area.