Takeaways from SiriusDecisions Summit 2018 – Marketers at their Best!

Beginning on May 8th, more than 3000 marketers converged on Las Vegas for three full days of data-driven best practices research, unveiling of new innovations across the B2B space and networking with an elite community of sales, marketing and product leaders. And once again SiriusDecisions Summit delivered on all of those promises.

siriusdecisions summit in las vegas

It was a great show and, while it’s easy to talk about the frameworks and vendors, I was struck by several themes that resonated over the course of the three days. If you weren’t able to make it to Vegas, don’t worry! Here are a few of my takeaways.

#IntelligentGrowth is a Team Sport

While marketers hit the ground running on Tuesday morning making the most of the case study sessions, the conference really took off when Tony Jaros, President and Chief Product Officer of Sirius Decisions took the main stage and reminded us that building the B2B marketing playbook is what will deliver consistency and ultimately drive results. It isn’t rocket science but it IS hard work. And it takes clarity on priorities and working across ALL go-to-market functions to transform a business. Throughout the conference, speakers were sharing their insights and tips on how to break out from working in a vacuum. Some of the most useful takeaways included:

  • Hold a Sales and Marketing (a.k.a “SMarketing”) meeting. This type of meeting, limited to team leads from marketing and sales, ensures that execution is really tight and you can make adjustments as needed. A good cadence is once every six weeks and can focus on program reviews and priorities.
  • Understand your company’s GTM maturity. Recent research reveals that over half of all companies are still in the early stages of a robust GTM framework and only 30% considered themselves to be aligned. Awareness of your revenue team’s maturity is critical to understanding which tactics will be most impactful.
  • Thoughtfully define cross-functional pilots to roll out new programs and technologies. Cristan Hutto, Director of Marketing Operations at JDA, shared how a programmatic roll-out of ABM built credibility, increased sales and marketing alignment, and proved that opps can closer faster and at a higher amount.
  • Be clear on metrics and definitions. The shift to moving beyond just leads to focus on accounts is finally taking hold. These account-based metrics are inherently going to be different, and more and more marketers are now being measured on pipeline and revenue. Spend time up-front to be clear on definitions and numbers.
  • Continue to get educated. Try different tactics to activate sales and drive alignment. Charm Bianchini and DeAnn Poe are hosting a webinar to share how top performing teams are using modern B2B strategies to align and drive more revenue.

Don’t Get Lost As You Manage Capabilities

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with managing your marketing tech stack, you are not alone. One of the speakers shared that they have over 40 technologies in their stack! He brought us back to an old proverb from Confucius, “The mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.” The saying is thousands of years old but rings incredibly true in our work as marketers today.

I like this picture from Sirius Decisions because if you are clear on your marketing needs and priorities, you can focus on how to build these capabilities and understand what technologies will actually move the needle.

b2b technology and service coverage

Additionally, the marketing ops role is becoming more and more important every day. That person should have a strong discipline in operational management to manage across systems, programs and people. Since it’s not unusual for those 40 technologies to be up to 20% of your marketing budget, they can help manage economies of scale as your organization grows.

Finally, think about both capabilities and cross-functional alignment. This builds on the conference theme around intelligent growth because having the best technology is only beneficial if you have alignment across all the GTM functions. This is true in many marketing disciplines and Jon Miller recently shared his perspective on how “hype” has impacted ABM effectiveness and how to break out of the trough of disillusionment.

Be Authentic. What Would You Do if You Weren’t Afraid?

In addition to the deep content on capabilities, technologies and best practices, the SiriusDecisions Summit had two wonderful keynotes from non-marketers – entrepreneur Molly Bloom (you may have seen the movie Molly’s Game) and renowned British photographer Platon who has taken photographs of many of the world’s most famous leaders.

Through their craft and experiences, they elicited some fantastic insights and guiding principles such as:

  • Can people see themselves in your story? It’s the best way to build a bridge across prospects, customers and users.
  • Share your point of view. Be direct and teach others to be great (as an aside, check out the Engagio content. It’s a great resource).
  • We live in extraordinary time. We’re more connected and have more information than ever before but we know less. Concentrate on breaking through that noise.
  • Finally, be fearless!

Did you have any other key takeaways from SiriusDecisions? If you couldn’t make it, which takeaway resonated with you and how you see the future of marketing? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Chandra Patel
Chandra Patel is head of product marketing at Engagio.

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