Top 10 Account Based Marketing Sightings at Dreamforce

From gripping presentations to unforgettable parties, another memorable Dreamforce has come and gone. While some people were running around collecting swag, we were busy evangelizing Account Based Marketing and Account Based Everything.

Without a doubt, there was more focus on account based topics this year than last. The topic continues to gain more and more traction as people are not only bought into it, but they’re applying the principles, learning valuable lessons, and, more importantly, getting huge results.

Whether you were busy tending your booth, you want a refresher, or you weren’t able to make it to Dreamforce this year, here is a recap of the 10 best ABM moments from the show.

1) Account Based Marketing + Account Based Sales = Account Based Everything

Jon Miller, CEO and Co-founder of Engagio

In this presentation, Jon talked about the “who, what, and where” of a successful Account Based Everything strategy. At Engagio, we define Account Based Everything as: A strategic go-to-market approach that orchestrates personalized marketing, sales and success efforts to drive engagement and conversions at named accounts.

Similar to #FlipMyFunnel, he talked about taking the traditional demand gen model and reversing the order of attack. In a lead-based world, you’ll find marketers and companies first decide on the what we want to say (offers), then move to where we want to say it (channels), and finish with who we should say it to (segments). In an account based world, we start with who are we trying to reach, (accounts), then what we should say (content), then finish with where we should say it (channels).

When you’re not strategic, people will tune out, toss out and opt out. Marketing itself is important but not sufficient to land your target accounts. That’s why we call it Account Based Everything.

Lastly, we have to look at the new metrics for tracking your AME efforts:

2) #FlipMyFunnel with Account Based Marketing

Sangram Vajre, CMO Co-founder at Terminus
#FlipMyFunnel is not just a clever hashtag. It’s not even just a conference. It has become a movement, and cornerstone of a successful ABM practice. It challenges the status quo of traditional B2B sales and marketing. =
In the traditional lead-based model, it starts with top of funnel awareness to a large audience. Then you move down funnel to interest, where you have less leads. The next stage is consideration, where you have even less leads. And finally, you have the purchase stage that completes the bottom of the funnel.  

When you flip the funnel, you become account based. You begin by identifying a narrow audience that you know is prequalified to do business with you. Then you expand that audience to include more people and decision makers in the right roles. Next, you need to start engaging them with the content via the right channels, like video, ad targets, social media, etc. And finally, this will naturally build advocates for your brand.

3) Remove Purchase Roadblocks with Account Based Engagement

Dun & Bradstreet Experts

When you move up market into enterprise sales, there are entire departments of multiple people who are solely dedicated to procuring capital and services, which can and will completely derail your deal. However, if you have the right data at the right time, you can overcome those hurdles and still get the deal done. Start digging into the data and find the account’s business model, stakeholder dynamics, goals, and interests. This improves your ability to provide solutions and develop meaningful relationships.

“How you approach your business relationships will make the difference between trust and distrust, a customer for life and a competitive loss, revenue growth and missed opportunity,” one expert commented. A blueprint designed with quality account data will guide your path to account based success.

How you approach your business relationships will make the difference between trust and distrust. And the more you know about them, the better you can personalize the buyer’s journey. All of this creates a successful Account-Based Engagement plan that results in more personal customer experiences, business growth, and long lasting relationships.

4) Modern Art Magic – SF MOMA PARTY


Yes, this was our party, but we’d be remiss to leave it off the list of top ABM moments at Dreamforce this year. After all, we are one of the companies leading the Account Based Marketing and Account Based Everything revolution. And this was a party for the ages. There were many sighting of sales and marketing influencers throughout the night, like Jill Rowley, Lars Nilsson, Keenan, Jamie Shanks, Mark Hunter, Trish Bertuzzi, Tracy Eiler, Matt Heinz, and Dave Brock to name a few.

Here are some of our favorite moments:




5) The “New Gold Rush” – Account Based Marketing From Top CEOs and CMOs

Panel: Rishi Dave, Robi Ganguly, Jason Jue and Jon Miller. Moderated by Fred Tsai.

Forrester has called ABM a “gold rush.” It’s hard to argue that point. More and more companies are jumping on the bandwagon as it’s gaining momentum. Just as the 1849 Gold Rush was arguably one of the most significant events that shape American history during the first half of the 19th century, ABM is shaping the landscape for many B2B markets.

For the first half of this panel, each panelist introduced themselves, then gave an example of how they’re utilizing AMB as part of their go-to-market strategy. Jon Miller talked about how Engagio targets accounts and decides how many of each tier his team is responsible for. Tier 1 accounts involve more rich account planning and personalized message — each Engagio AE is responsible for 5 Tier 1 accounts. Tier 2 accounts involve light personalization but also utilize data to fill in the rest. Each AE here has 6 key personas and is responsible for 45 Tier 2 accounts. Tier 3 accounts are on the more automated side, often called programmatic, but still customized for industry and persona — it’s not lead-based. Each AE here is responsible for 150 Tier 3 accounts.

The most important takeaway from this panel for me (also echoed by the other panelists) is summed up in a quote from Jon Miller:

6) The Future of Data Integration in Salesforce

Charlie Liang, Director of Marketing at Engagio

Engagio’s Charlie Liang shared how he used good data from HGData and to run Account Based Marketing and Sales and opened 61 opportunities within target accounts. This session discussed how Salesforce data partners Bombora and HGData can help you get key customer insights integrated into your CRM.

Good data is very important for ABM — without it, you’ll have a hard time scaling and getting the right returns to make your efforts with it. There are three types of data that you’ll need to be successful at ABM: Technographics, Intent, and Contact. Technographic data tells you the technology your target accounts is using. Intent data are signs of in-market activity that give an insight into behavior. Contact data is the data that you need to reach your target personas with your target accounts. It’s easier than ever to get this data into Salesforce with clicks of a mouse. Start using this today!

Watch the replay.

replay future of data

7) Target Key Accounts Using An Account Based Strategy

Panel: Cari Baldwin, Kevin O’Malley, Jennifer Sprague, Colleen Rombach, Nick Ezzo.

This was a great panel with some of the top marketing and demand gen leaders discussing how you can nail the first step in ABM: selecting and targeting your key accounts.

ABM is not a panacea, so first make sure it’s the right strategy for you. Next, set up a meeting with your sales team. If you don’t get their buy-in, it’s not a full ABM strategy. On the marketing side, you need to appoint an experienced marketer the lead your efforts. You need someone with experience to look at both your wins and your losses. Your losses can tell you just as much about who you should target than your win, so don’t neglect them.

You can always start small and test some campaigns to warm up before taking on a full pilot. It’s a long-term play, and you may not see the huge success you’re looking for this quarter or next. But stick with it. When you understand the insights of each account, you can begin to develop content that matches. When measuring, keep it simple and look at the revenue impact. When you start to get some wins, you’ll begin to win your sales team’s trust, and move your efforts forward.

8) Building the Ideal ABM Tech Stack

JJ Kardwell, President and Co-Founder at EverString

One team within your organization can’t make ABM work alone. In this presentation, JJ Kardwell reveals exactly what his team has used to build a well-tuned ABM engine. At Everstring, alignment means getting marketing, sales development, sales, pre-sales/solutions consulting, and customer success on the same page.

Then, it’s about what JJ calls a TEAMS approach to execution. This slide alone is worth its weight in gold.


However, it’s worth noting that your team and the people behind the tech are just as important as the tech itself.

JJ argued that you already have much of what you need to start with ABM. There’s that theme again – just get started!

9) The First Step to Successful ABM

Sangram Vajre and Jim Hopkins

Sangram is not only the co-founder of Terminus, but also the founder of #FlipMyFunnel, a movement that has caught B2B hearts and minds by storm in the last few years. Jim Hopkins, Senior Manager, Product Marketing at, also showed up strong and proved why he is another authority in the ABM movement.

One of the biggest challenges that marketing faces is less than 1% of the leads turn into customers, yet this is a fact that we’ve come to accept. However, name another discipline or practice where it’s acceptable to have a 1% win rate. One of the solutions Sangram and Jim offer is turn your prospects into advocates, even before they turn into customers. It’s about quality over quantity (and underlying these among all of the ABM presentations). Marketers have become great at utilizing many channels to gain awareness and get in front of new customers. However, when you’re engaged in ABM, it’s not possible to do everything, so you must start by segmenting and deciding on your most important target accounts and buyer personas.

But it goes beyond just that. Let’s take a look past the bottom of the funnel and beyond the point of conversion. Account expansion can offer a real lever for revenue growth. This is where marketing needs to join forces with sales to help them close revenue.

10) The Keys to Developing an Account Based Sales Development Strategy

Jon Miller, CEO and Co-founder of Engagio

This was a more intimate talk, and Jon gave much more personalized answers. This was a no-BS, let’s-cut-straight-to-the-chase session. Jon explained that research from the ITSMA  shows 75% of executives will read unsolicited marketing materials that contain ideas that might be relevant to their business.

There are some very important implications for complex and enterprise sales. You must understand and have great knowledge of your target accounts unique business issues. You must understand and have great knowledge of your target accounts industries. Lastly, you must bring fresh ideas to advance your target account’s business.

There you have it, the top ABM sightings from Dreamforce 2016. The exciting part of ABM and ABE is that it’s just getting started. You’re a trailblazer. You’re a pioneer. You’re a risk-taker. To make your journey easier, we’ve published a 124-page roadmap called The Clear and Complete Guide to Account Based Marketing.

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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