Going From Impossible to Inevitable: A Case Study on Inbound Marketing

Startups are hard. In fact, in the beginning, it can seem nearly impossible. But startups are exciting. There’s nothing like the prospect of building something that can change the world. That will keep you going, and when you reach a certain point, your success goes from impossible to inevitable.

Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin know a thing or two about this. They’ve both been successful operators, but both consult countless companies, and they’ve written a book whose title says it all: From Impossible to Inevitable.

Aaron recently swung by the Engagio office, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do a quick vlog. Aaron and Jason just released a revised and updated version of their book, which contains a lot of new ideas and all new case studies. So, we decided to chat about one of those case studies – how inbound has changed in the last 10 years. Yes, it’s the story of how Jon Miller did inbound in the early days at Marketo versus how we’re doing it at Engagio.

Here’s my conversation with Aaron. Enjoy!

(Watch on YouTube)


– Alright, it’s Aaron Ross here, with Brandon Redlinger, who’s Director of Growth at Engagio. Brandon, thanks for hosting me here.

– Absolutely

– I came in off the plane I was like yeah, I’ll come by, let’s do a video.

– Let’s do a video!

– Why not And I couldn’t say no.

– Yeah

– I couldn’t say no.

– Okay

– So, this time for this updated book from Impossible to Inevitable, I can’t even say it sometimes, second edition. There’s a bunch of great new case studies in sections, like it is a pretty massive update. One of them is from my friend Jon Miller founder, CEO of Engagio. And I thought it was really interesting, because he was the original co-founder of Marketo. And so, this section here talks about the difference in 10 years between when Marketo was founded, and today with Engagio. So, I got one of the tips that I liked a lot, and I realize you’re just kind of like a foil for me to hear to talk, So one of the tips I liked, that Jon had to share was 10 years ago, and you can put up a blog post, and he said he could get it on the highly ranked keywords

– Show up on Google

– on page one, you know Jon Miller writes a post and BOOM!

– Boom!

– Then marketing comes flooding in, right.

– Yup

– All the leads come flooding in. So today he’s been working for three years to get on range for Account Based Marketing, he can’t even get on the first three pages or 10 pages. So two things, he said it’s really important to take an accountant-based approach, kinda mixing content marketing, with outbound prospecting, Account Based Marketing. You’re taking ideas, you’re taking to people, and that was much more a spears approach with marketing. And that was, in the book he he goes to these four tiers, so when you have tier one accounts, these big strategic accounts, you know Wales, like the true Wales, how do you treat them, verus tier two where you got the big companies versus tier three which means like mid-market, and tier four which is small business. So, I don’t know if in those different tiers that you guys use and talk about, love to hear maybe like a tip, if I’m trying to target the big enterprise, not like the, lets say the bigger companies.

– What’s a common mistake that you see companies make, whether their customers or not on Engagio? It’s account based marketing

– Yes, absolutely! So I think we run into this all the time.

– I’m putting him on the spot by the way

– Happy to take this on. People choose too many accounts, then when they take on

– That’s a good one

– Too much, and then they don’t have the resources or they don’t have the time, or the budget, or the people, to properly actually go after… ’cause your top tier accounts

– Top, top tiers

– Top, top tier, right

– Yeah

– We don’t have certain budget, we don’t have certain time, certain resources

– Okay, how many accounts, okay pick a number, how many accounts do you think is too many?

– For tier one?

– For tier one, the biggest ones, and then, ’cause you’re gonna guess too many. Like what would you say?

– Don’t go more than five.

– Five, right, five or fewer.

– We do not, I don’t think we have a rep right now that has five. That’s the most we allow, and I don’t think they do it. There are people, they say, I can do five, I can do five, they know what what their resources are, they know the SLAs they have to hit, they know what they need to do. But like a lot of people are like, oh I can easily do five, I can easily do it. And then

– Yup at the end of the day they’re like, you’re like hey, were you able to touch this account? What happened with this account? And like I just didn’t get around to it.

– Yep there’s no shame in saying, ah maybe I’ll do four, maybe I’ll do three.

– Yeah, like it’s not more, is not better.

– Exactly

– So in page 74, they go through the different tiers here, right. Tier one, two, three, or four. And that was something interesting, that at the top level five, and actually per if I remember, per account they might spend $60,000.00 per account, per one company.

– Yep

– Obviously, if you have money to spend.

– Yeah, exactly.

– Yeah, and anyway, tier two you could do more companies if it’s small, that was a really interesting when we talked about it with Jon, and so that was like when I was really excited to get into the book, so.

– A lot of good stuff in there

– Yeah

– So..

– Go pick it up now, it is the Bible in Silicon Valley for growth.

– Yep, it’s on Amazon, or from impossible.com

– Awesome, thanks Aaron!

– Yeah, thanks.

Brandon Redlinger
Brandon Redlinger
Brandon Redlinger is the Head of Growth at Engagio, the Account-Based Marketing and Sales platform that enables teams to measure account engagement and orchestrate human connections at scale. He is passionate about the intersection between tech and psychology, especially as it applies to growing businesses. You can follow him on twitter @brandon_lee_09 or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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