Briefly, tell us how your journey took where you are right now
When I look back, my journey began thanks to my parents’ interest in business. That along with my perhaps unhealthy love of computing meant I was lucky enough to be online as the Internet launched in the UK!
Without realising it, I cofounded a marketing consulting business. Furthermore, I even dipped my toes into building a radio station before cofounding an audio and video tech startup as broadband Internet was taking off. That was the start of a ride that ended up exiting to Silverpop, which I helped grow to become one of the leading marketing automation companies globally (before it exited to IBM).
I joked after leaving that I would not setup another company and would focus my efforts. Mostly away from marketing tech but I started my next startup just 4 years later (oops!) and setup Radiate B2B 2 years after that.
What was your aha moment which led you to create your business?
To come back to B2B Marketing and create another startup having said I wouldn’t meant it needed to be something that really excited me. I believed the way we do B2B Marketing today will radically change and in turn spur completely new innovation was that big aha moment that drove me to return.
Thankfully 4 years later that is proving to be true with the growth of Account Based Marketing.
This didn’t happen in a silo though. We talked to marketers and buyers about their experiences and some things really stood out:
- Acquisition costs had risen dramatically
- The never-ending investment in content was resulting in increasing noise in the market and a flood of low quality and generic me too content.
- For the buyer, who was increasingly digitally savvy, they were starting to focus their early research on publishers, analysts and other third parties delaying converting on vendor websites. There was also an increasing requirement for brand recognition than previously.
Why is your business relevant to the issues you have identified?
It was clear we needed to deliver higher quality messaging and stand out from the crowd. We knew that the amount of data available to marketers was mostly going unused but with it we could deliver a better experience for buyers.
We started with the hard thing first – how to pro-actively reach the right people inside companies before they know about you and do it in a way that you could customise the message right down to each company.
That allowed you to take insight you knew about each company and use it to deliver a better experience but also for the vendor increase both awareness and identify which companies were active in the market today. The weird thing about advertising is that you don’t consciously see it till it is useful to you. That alone allowed you to get in front of prospects earlier than anyone else and give a strong first impression.
Having done that, it was relatively simple to predict buying behaviour based on companies browsing your website before they convert and across the internet to help sales teams know who to speak to and what they should talk about with that particular prospect.
Altogether this creates an approach that builds awareness and gives sales teams the tools to have better quality conversations with buyers at the right time.
What has been your biggest lesson learnt from growing your business?
Always be listening. Always be learning. There is always more to do than the time available. So one of my biggest learning is understanding when to say no. But the world continuously changes, the market changes and the people inside it change. What was a no yesterday might be a yes tomorrow. So you end up always needing to be listening and learning.
Tell me about your customer acquisition systems?
Today almost all our customer acquisition is through word of mouth and partnerships. Eventhough perhaps unsurprisingly we also use our own technology to build awareness and work out who we should be speaking to next!
Perhaps surprisingly we don’t just focus on an account based marketing approach. It is obviously a major part of our acquisition approach and certainly frames how we message and communicate. However, we have always been strong believers in broader brand building alongside the operational side of marketing. We therefore create thought leadership content. Such that asks questions and deliver value allowing us to raise the overall performance of our ABM efforts.
What do you wish more people knew?
The value of brand. In the past decade, branding in B2B marketing has been sidelined by the ever increasing focus on short term performance and yet brand raises the performance across all channels. As they say.. “A rising tide lifts all boats” – and brand does that to all channels.
Thinking about your legacy, how do you want to be remembered?
Quite simply.. as someone who helped.
Liked this article? Why not read “HOW TO DO REMOTE WORK EFFECTIVELY”