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TOPO Summit 2019 – Key Trends from the Technology Vendor Community

We recently surveyed the sales and marketing technology vendors who are partnering with us at TOPO Summit to gather their thoughts on the most important trends in revenue. A few big themes emerged: account based, customer engagement, sales effectiveness and enablement, sales and marketing alignment, and how data and technology are driving scale.

If you want to learn more about the latest trends in sales and marketing technology, make sure you check out the Marketplace at TOPO Summit where you’ll find 40 of the world’s leading marketing and sales technology vendors.

Account Based

The Account Based Marketing Platform (6sense)

A few years ago ABM platforms did not really exist, so you had to create your own solution cobbling together pieces and parts – an intent provider, someone for ads, engagement measurement, sales enablement, predictive intelligence and the list goes on. Today, marketing, sales, customer success, and BDR teams are coming together and demanding a platform to scale their ABM program, eliminate silos, and orchestrate engagement across the entire customer lifecycle. As CMOs, we catch a lot of flack for wanting to do “arts and crafts”, but the creativity is the fun part and can separate a great customer experience from a mediocre one. We want the technology to care of the mundane tasks so we can get back to creating amazing experiences and, yes, have more time for arts and crafts.

Account Based Goes Mainstream (RollWorks)

B2B marketers now see account based marketing as a specialized marketing function. In 2019, ABM will go mainstream and B2B marketers will understand it as more of a focused strategy — an extension of their current and trusted marketing strategies. Account based strategies are now proven to reach and engage more of the right people in the right accounts.

Account-Based Everything (Mintigo)

ABM means different things to different people. For marketing and sales it’s all about identifying named accounts and engaging those accounts with hyper targeted personalized messaging. Companies are looking for a holistic view into every account in their database, including insights and intelligence on marketing engagement, sales interactions, first party and third party intent, website engagement, etc. Marketers want to get all of this data into one place so they can turn raw data into meaningful insights to get visibility on where business growth and revenue opportunities exist.

ABM Goes Cross-Channel (Triblio)

Over the past couple of years, ABM has gone from nascent pilot projects to full scale deployments. But many of the ABM programs are still focused on a single channel. Even those that employ ABM tactics in more than one channel, are typically “multi-channel” rather than “cross channel”, whereby the context and conversation with the buyer is seamlessly integrated. In 2019, more marketers will be closing this gap by connecting the dots between channels such as ads, website, email, chat and sales for an integrated buying experience.

The Account Based Marketing Tech Stack (Vidyard)

While the idea of account-based marketing (ABM) isn’t new, the diversity and sophistication of technologies to support it is. Now that the tools and methodologies are maturing, 2019 looks like a break-out year for putting ABM into practice in meaningful (and trackable) ways.

Customer Engagement

Customer Engagement Data (DiscoverOrg)

Customer engagement data is extremely valuable; it tells a story about how your customers specifically interact with your product, completing a feedback loop. Of the organizations who collect this data today, many simply haven’t operationalized it. We predict 2019 will be the year B2B organizations get serious about collecting user data and start using it to dictate action – revealing the most popular features, customers most likely to churn, users in need of additional training, and more.

The Buyer Comes First (Drift)

Marketers often get swept up in best practices surrounding SEO, brand, and content. A lot of these best practices, like using forms to gate content, have worked for a long time, but are they really optimized to create the best experience for the customer? Marketers have been forcing potential buyers into an overly complex buying process. In 2019, we expect companies to put the buyers wants and needs first. In fact, if your website isn’t optimized for the buyer today, you run the risk of losing their attention. When companies tune into what buyers want (and expect) they can start providing a great experience by better understanding their customers intent.

Brand and Demand Will Be An Emphasis In 2019 (Engagio)

We are hearing more about the “brand” as an emphasis for 2019 – but we are hopeful there is also a realization that brand and demand are not at odds with each other. They are both important and critical for a successful business. Companies that stand out and can tell a clear and compelling story will do better – but you also need a way to capture that interest, grow it, and inspire action.

Deeper Customer Engagement (SalesLoft)

There’s been a lot of buzz about the impact that automation, machine learning, and AI will have on the world of sales. There have been wild and speculative proclamations about what these technologies can do, as well as considerable hand-wringing over whether they will make salespeople obsolete. Something far better seems to be emerging. AI and automation are very good at a lot of things, but human interaction isn’t one of them. What is emerging is a world in which software can do the things that humans aren’t great at (like automating data entry), leaving marketers and salespeople with more time and focus fully engage with customers.

Personalization at Scale (Tray.io)

Personalization is a powerful way to drive engagement for prospects and customers. With higher engagement comes higher conversion rates, more opportunities to up-sell and cross-sell, and a powerful way to fight churn. Personalizing for a large number of customers is impossible to do at scale with the manual systems that exist today. In order to personalize at scale, marketers need a platform that allows them to aggregate all their customer data and make it actionable at scale. Businesses are now integrating all the cloud-based apps in their stack – from chatbots, lead enrichment, CRM, to marketing platforms in order to provide the right level of customization and they’re doing it without placing a burden on their internal developers or engineering teams

Sales Effectiveness and Enablement

Sales Enablement as a Competitive Differentiator (Highspot)

With fierce competition for finite buyer attention, strategic companies are ensuring they’re prepared and positioned to win business against their competition. Sales enablement helps companies deliver a better buyer experience, create alignment between sales and marketing teams, and empower their reps to be more efficient and productive, ultimately resulting in increased revenue and loyal customers. Sales and marketing leaders have come to regard sales enablement as the new standard of doing business.

Sales Becomes More of a Science (Outreach)

The days of sales as a black box are over. Sales managers and leaders have more insights on actions, activities, and outcomes than ever before. They say you can’t improve what you can’t measure. Modern sales and a modern sales tech stack make possible to consistently optimize your sales process by A/B testing, tracking sentiment over reply rates, prioritizing accounts, and so much more.

Marketing Will Help Enable Additional Teams (Sendoso)

Most people think that marketing will only enables sales development reps and account executives with content, education, messaging, and templates. However, the savviest marketers are working closely with customer success to build engaging programs that drive retention and account management teams to create opportunities to cross-sell and upsell. With the most progressive thinking accounts they even empower executive teams with intensive executive relationship cultivation and personal branding.

Sales and Marketing Alignment

Building Revenue Teams (Mintigo)

Companies that are creating cohesive revenue teams to build their revenue and growth strategies is one of the most important things happening today. Marketing, sales, product, customer success, and business intelligence teams need to be aligned on the strategy and plans to reach the company’s revenue goals.

Metrics and Messaging That Drive Alignment (MixMax)

Having a partner in crime that signs up for the same metrics to help sales and marketing hit revenue targets and grow the company is a lost art and one that, when done correctly, can be incredibly powerful. Sales must also work with marketing to come up with A/B tested persona based messaging to identify what’s working and what’s not to improve open rates and response rates.

Technology That Supports Alignment (SalesFuel)

Powerful ABM/marketing automation tools are enabling marketing to have one-to-one conversations with prospects instead of just one-to-many. But marketing must ensure the methodology, process, and terminology used to support these efforts is in alignment and collaboration with sales for maximum benefit.

Improved Sales and Marketing Alignment (SalesLoft)

Talking about sales and marketing alignment may sound tired and cliched, but the truth is that there has typically been a lot more talk than action. Part of this is because, until recently, marketers have been much better equipped to do their jobs. While marketers used their multi-million dollar budgets to get access to every tool imaginable, sales was still using the same old methods. Basically, marketers had cruise missiles while sales had bows and arrows That’s changing. It’s now possible to have visibility into the customer throughout the entire lifecycle, which is giving companies the ability to align their processes and communications across the entire organization.

Data and Technology That Drive Scale

Powering ABM With Insights and Beyond (6sense)

Sales and marketing teams are foregoing MQLs, spreadsheets, and look-alike models to embrace big data, AI and machine learning to achieve laser-sharp targeting. Our customers are slicing and dicing data to create their ICP and account targets for ABM, but also going way beyond this and “microsegmenting” to dramatically improve results. These “microsegments” provide unprecedented insight into buyers and buying teams, such as, where they are in their journey, what they truly care about, and the best channel  to reach them – all right in the data.

Target Driven Prospecting (ChiliPiper)

Leveraging data more than ever, sales and sales development is predicated on having the right message to the right person at the right account at the right top. Replacing older models of just simply “personalizing” messages, new trends show that having highly effective targeting at the account and contact level and then a timely message to the prospect is key to keeping a full funnel.

Omnichannel Becomes Table Stakes (Outreach)

There are more channels than ever before and you need to be where your buyer is. Phone and email only are no longer enough. To win consistently, you’ll need to best understand your customer personas and leverage a sequence of events that include mediums like phone, voicemail, email, text, LinkedIn, 1-1 video, direct mail, chat, and more. Software that allows sales reps to get all of their activities done across these channels without having to leave the app or do a bunch of mundane manual work will be the new standard application of record.

Increasing Momentum With Intent Data (Triblio)

Intent data has been around for a while but results have been mixed. However, over the past year, leading marketers have cracked the code about how to apply intent data effectively in account selection, campaign execution and sales engagement. With these patterns of effective usage established, the result is increasing momentum in the use of intent data in 2019. Expect to see intent data used in “full funnel” mode – top of funnel, middle of funnel and bottom of funnel.

Want to hear more about the latest trends in sales and marketing technology? Check out the Marketplace at TOPO Summit where you’ll find 40 marketing-leading vendors.

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