Behind the Brilliance: The Mind of a Marketer with Evy Wilkins
This year on Pi Day (3.14.15), Engagio celebrated three years of living and breathing our core values with a day focused on our culture.
One of our core values is helping our customers succeed, which is why we invited some of our top customers to reinforce the impact that we’re having on their businesses. One of the customers that we invited was Evy Wilkins, VP of Account Based Marketing at Traackr. Traackr is an influencer relationship management solution that consolidates influencer discovery, management and insights for global brands.
I was so blown away by Evy and the success she’s been able to drive with ABM that I wanted to share it with a broader audience.
In this edition of Behind the Brilliance, I had the privilege of sitting down with Evy to draw out lessons and learnings along her way to becoming a true ABM leader.
Without further adieu, please enjoy my conversation with Evy Wilkins.
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Brandon: What traits make a good ABM Leader?
Evy: In three words, I’d say collaborative, empathic and holistic.
The Traackr marketing team set forth a number of values at the beginning of the year that underpin our strategy and guide our actions. One of my favorite values is “symbiosis”. In everything we do, we seek to complement the work of our partners in other areas of the business and keep our sights locked on the overarching revenue goals.
I work very closely with our Head of Sales Development and our SVP of Global Sales on everything from streamlining processes, implementing technologies that support both sides of the revenue equation and developing messaging that entices our buyer.
You also need to work very closely with your colleagues in other marketing disciples or regions to align strategies so everyone is contributing to the same goals. Collaboration is the name of the game.
Another value of the Traackr marketing team is empathy and specifically, empathy with our buyer. The software purchasing process has become so painful and seemingly every professional on the planet has become numb to our marketing tactics.
One of the benefits of account-based marketing is the ability to go deep into a specific audience segment. When you’ve narrowed your focus to a group of similar buyers, it’s easier to figure out how to add value to their professional lives by providing them with relevant content and experiences.
Finally, to execute an account-based marketing program, you need a solid understanding of the entire buying process and the full marketing tech stack. You’ll have to pull together all levers at marketing’s disposal (events, content, influencer marketing, PR, advertising) into a cohesive strategy that speaks to your target accounts. I think the term Engagio uses – orchestration – captures the essence of this role.
Brandon: What are the keys to working cross-functionally with sales and sales development?
Evy: Working cross-functionally starts with getting into the minds of the sales team; it goes back to being empathetic. At Traackr, we do this a few ways:
We have biweekly syncs between the marketing and sales development teams where we align on campaigns, upcoming events, and new content. This gives sales development time to plan their workload in advance so we can take full advantage of the investments we’re making in acquisition and account engagement.
However, the information needs to flow both ways. We’re building a world-class enterprise sales development program at Traackr that ultimately prepares fresh sales talent for closing roles. One of the benefits we provide this team is the ability to work closely with marketing, voice their ideas and develop their skills.
In that vein, these meetings are used to surface challenges for the SDRs and work towards solutions, whether that is improvements to processes or deploying new plays. The key is to demonstrate that the marketing team can listen and adapt based on feedback.
Another way to bridge the gap between sales and marketing is to share recorded calls. I listen to recorded demo calls with our target accounts weekly to understand the needs of our buyers and the sticking points for our sales team. I’ll also use those insights to conduct workshops with our SDRs to expose them to our personas, the challenges they deal with in their roles and how we can add value through our outreach.
Lastly, we have started an employee content creation program and our sales team is now writing for the Traackr blog. The content they provide often speaks much deeper down the funnel and narrows in on very specific pain points. The program gives sales a voice and channel for collaborating with marketing.
Brandon: How do you set up a pilot to prove ABM in the first place.
- Start with low hanging fruit. Choose an account segment where you have the content and expertise to put together a program without relying too much on creating new assets. Ideally, this is a segment where you already have wins. It will depend on your business and may be a specific industry, organization size, use of technology, geographic region, etc.
- Establish a partnership with sales. In a perfect world, this is a shared program you put forth in collaboration with a sales colleague. You’ll need at least one SDR willing to work with you and change their process. Be aware of your compensation strategies and make sure you align them with your objectives. The volume of outreach may go down, but the quality should go up.
- Give yourself time and space. Anything worthwhile takes time to put in place. Instead of pitching this as a one-off pilot, considering forming an agile working group that can pull in different parts of your organization as needed.
- Define what success looks like and what type of progress you expect. This is where having account based analytics is essential because what you’re trying to do requires a new set of KPIs you can’t easily get from traditional systems.
- Educate and update regularly. Provide status reports regularly, share wins and learnings, and get other people involved and excited.
Try to avoid people thinking about ABM as an isolated campaign. Account based marketing isn’t a lead source; it’s a mindset.
Brandon: What advice would you give to a B2B/ABM marketer just getting started in his or her career?
Evy: If you’re just starting out, I’d recommend getting exposure to as many aspects of marketing as possible. To succeed as a strategic B2B marketer, you’ll need a solid grasp of everything from marketing operations to influencer relations. Give yourself space to learn about content marketing, branding, analytics, and attribution.
There is a lot of value in forging your own path versus following a prescribed journey. Question best practices, experiment, and iterate – and don’t worry about having THE framework.
I’d also recommend studying agile techniques and other “new” ways of getting work done because a big part of ABM is juggling a million moving parts with tons of interdependencies.
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