A B2B Manufacturer’s 100% Win Rate With ABM

Episode 62

December 3, 2019

Daniel Englebretson—Director, Growth Marketing and Demand Generation at B2B manufacturer, Phononic—shares his account-based marketing process which helped him achieve a 100% win rate in a tier one campaign over 10 months.

A B2B Manufacturer’s 100% Win Rate With ABM Transcript:

Announcer: You’re listening to The Kula Ring, a podcast made for manufacturing marketers. Here are Carman Pirie and Jeff White. 

Jeff White: Welcome to The Kula Ring, a podcast for manufacturing marketers, brought to you by Kula Partners. I’m Jeff White, and joining me today is Carman Pirie. Carman, how are you sir?

Carman Pirie: Well, you know, Jeff, I’m doing pretty well, but maybe I have to warn our listeners today a bit, because I’ve got this kind of right of passage into winter is that you need to get a hacking cough at some point. So, if I hack in peoples’ ears throughout this, I apologize-

Jeff White: We’ll remove it in post. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah, man. It might be a real challenge, but okay, okay, we’ll stick with that. 

Jeff White: I’m sure you’ll be alright.

Carman Pirie: But it’s good. I mean, I should… I don’t know, maybe it gives me a better radio voice or something. 

Jeff White: Well, you’re building immunity for the rest of the winter.

Carman Pirie: Yeah. 

Jeff White: I think that’s generally out how it goes. 

Carman Pirie: Heard immunity is going to be important here in the office. 

Jeff White: Yeah. Exactly. Have you gotten your flu shot yet?

Carman Pirie: I haven’t. I’m always weirded out by the flu shot. Not that I think it doesn’t work or anything, but it seems like in the last three or four years, about a week or two after you get it, you start seeing all these news reports that they got the strain guess wrong this year. “Oh yeah, all that stuff that we injected with you with is not actually the strain.” 

Jeff White: It’s not gonna help. 

Carman Pirie: There’s not actually protection. But I don’t want to be labeled an anti-vaxxer, so I’ll go get one. 

Jeff White: Yeah. Very, very good. Yeah. No, I think that’s probably the way to go. 

Carman Pirie: Well, now that we’ve taken care of my health, maybe we can introduce our guest, and talk about something interesting for marketers, instead.

Jeff White: I think that’s probably a better choice. Yeah. So, joining us today is Daniel Englebretson. Daniel is the director of growth marketing and demand generation at Phononic. Welcome to The Kula Ring, Daniel. 

Daniel Englebretson: Hey guys. I’m glad to be here. 

Jeff White: Have you gotten your flu shot yet, Daniel?

Daniel Englebretson: I have not, but my kids have, so I’m almost there. 

Jeff White: Yeah, exactly. Mine have as well, and I consider that the next best thing at that point. 

Carman Pirie: It’s like you could live vicariously with the flu shot? Maybe I need a kid, just so I can do this. 

Jeff White: I think you could. Yeah. 

Carman Pirie: I don’t know. 

Daniel Englebretson: So I can pretend to be responsible. 

Jeff White: Exactly. Exactly. 

Carman Pirie: Daniel, it’s wonderful to have you on the podcast today. Let’s get things kicked off here with just telling our listeners a bit about who you are and what you do at Phononic. 

Daniel Englebretson: Sure, so again, my name’s Daniel, and I help Phononic run its marketing campaigns. Generally speaking, I own the technology stack that we use, and the process that we use to design campaigns, and then the actual execution of those campaigns, so in a lot of ways, I spend most of my time interfacing with various business partners across the different business units, from… We organize by vertical, by product group. And then also a fair amount of time with our sales partners, helping to understand basically what’s possible in the world of demand generation, and of what’s possible, which things should we be doing to try to hit our campaign objectives. 

So, that’s a lot of what I’m up to on a day-to-day basis. 

Carman Pirie: You are perhaps, Daniel, a master of understatement. When I looked at your LinkedIn profile, and I looked at the track record of demand gen and ABM success that you have, to just start by saying, “I help run marketing campaigns,” is about as understated as I think it could get. Look, let’s kind of start looking into this playbook a bit, because you have had a huge amount of success. But perhaps before we do that, could you let our listeners know some of the previous companies that you worked with and tell us a bit about Phononic? Because I think your track record here is pretty phenomenal, actually.

Daniel Englebretson: Sure. I got my first job out of school on a recommendation from a college professor, and I worked for the CEO of a test and measurement company that, they distribute weigh equipment, and measuring equipment, but also did a fair amount of measurement services for people like BMW and Mercedes, so I spent a lot of time early on selling to and marketing to lots of manufacturers. I think of that job almost as like how it’s made. I used to go into four, five, six factories a week, and just see all kinds of stuff touring around the plants with the quality guys, and understanding what their quality problems were, and then helping to translate that into services that we could provide for them. 

So, that’s how I got started, and my job at the beginning was really, I had 10 field sales account manager types working for me, and then one marketer, and so I used to ride around with salespeople all the time, making these sales calls and understanding what the customers were looking for, which I think is a lot of what has shaped my view on demand gen today. Because I was… I started out by feeling from the salesperson’s perspective what was the result of what we were doing from a marketing perspective. So from that, I got pulled into a role at Danaher, one of their operating companies called Gilbarco Veeder-Root. They’re the largest convenience store equipment manufacturer in the world, selling exciting things like gas pumps and point-of-sale machines. 

But I was able to apply a lot of what I had learned from working in the field to interfacing with our distributor partners as we were generating leads and routing them to our distributors. My job at that company was almost entirely driving demand for our channel, and Gilbarco had about 80 distributors that we were doing that for, so I got pulled in to start that function up, and it started as a kind of top-down initiative they called transformative marketing, where they were trying to transform the way their businesses went to market digitally. So, there was a lot of pay-per-click and SEO when I got started, and that kind of morphed into lead generation, which morphed into demand generation more broadly. 

By the time I left that role, I had about 16 people working for me, and the company split off, and my boss and my boss’s boss left, and I followed my boss’s boss down to Acuity Brands in Atlanta. And at Acuity, it was a similar scenario. A large manufacturer. They’re the largest lighting manufacturer in the world, and the difference between them and Danaher, most notably, was they execute everything centrally, where Danaher was very decentralized. Each operating company did its own thing. So, I got pulled in at Acuity to basically transform their legacy, what they called interactive and creative services team, into a modernized, functioning, shared-services demand generation team, if you will, where I owned the people responsible for the website, the marketing automation, the demand gen operations, the creative services team, and it was basically an internal agency executing demand gen for the business. They had about 100 marketers in whole. 

And so, I did that for a little while, and I learned quite a bit. Well, I expanded a lot on process, and efficiency, and learned a lot about executing at scale, and one of the guys who brought me on there took a role as CMO at Phononic, and called me up, and we were talking, and I asked him about whether it’d be a fit for me. And I was interested in moving to Phononic because right about the time this happened, I had started learning about account-based marketing, and as a demand gener who’d been driving demand for a long time, I was very familiar with the marketing technology, and the challenges inherent in the different processes, and when I ran across ABM, it felt like… it felt a little bit magical to me, to be totally honest, and so what drew me to moving from massive manufacturing to startup Phononic was the idea of basically eliminating the red tape, and jumping in hard on ABM to really learn ABM. 

I joke with my boss I wanted to get a master’s of ABM, and that’s really what I’ve been up to in the last two years. So, at Phononic, when I started here a little over two years ago, they didn’t have a marketing organization, so to speak, when I started, and my boss was actually the first marketing leader they had hired. And Phononic had spent a few years exploring the technology that we call solid-state cooling, and then they spent a few years exploring how to commercialize that, and right about the time they finished that and started actually selling finished goods is when they started up their marketing function. 

So, I came in to get the arms around how we wanted to drive demand for the finished goods, and also to help basically upgrade the marketing infrastructure, and the website, and things like that, to be able to perform. So today, Phononic sells, basically makes chips. They look like… You can sit one on the tip of your finger, and one side gets hot, and one side gets cold, and it’s based on thermoelectrics, and we put those chips into all kinds of devices. They go into these little cartridges, and they can heat or cool or bed, or a fan, or a kegerator, or a refrigerator, or a laser transceiver, and so there’s lots of different applications we’re hunting for, and some of them get fairly niche, which is why it was a good fit for ABM. 

Carman Pirie: Man, you know you’re talking to agency guys when you say kegerator and our eyes light up. Terrible. Thank you for taking us through that background a bit. I think it really helps put your experience, and frankly this master’s of ABM, into some level of context. Let’s kind of get into the master’s of ABM. I like that. We’ve got like 20 minutes left in this podcast. We’re gonna try to get your two-year master’s program condensed into the Daniel-led-20-minute-overview. So, what has that master’s of ABM looked like? What have you learned? What have been your key takeaways as you’ve kind of explored this with Phononic? 

Daniel Englebretson: As a marketer who has been driving demand for large sales teams, and oftentimes channel partners, as you find a lot of times on manufacturing, one of the big challenges that I’ve run into in my career is how do you make sure that the leads that you generate are leads that sales actually wants? And that, I think, at the root of it, is the magic of ABM, is generating leads that your partners, your sales partners and channel partners, actually want. And so, coming into Phononic, and taking the time to understand what are the segments, what do the ideal customers look like, how do we find and identify them, and market directly to them, and cutting through the noise of traditional lead gen, where you have lots of volume coming through, and lots of leads going to sales, and maybe only 20% of them or 30% of them get followed up, and moving to a model where 100% of what you’re generating is actionable to sales, that was a big part of the transition for me. 

But then also, if I learned anything at Danaher, it was about being lean, and paying attention to cost out, and continuous improvement, and in my opinion, there’s no more efficient approach to demand gen than account-based marketing. Because basically what you’re doing is you’re saying, “I’m only gonna market to the right people, with the right message, at the right time, and everything that I do is gonna be something that I know is gonna get followed up on.” And so, you save a lot of time, energy, and money by cutting out the noise and spending your dollars only on what you want. 

So, that was really… I guess that’s kind of the foundation of the thinking, and then it kind of evolves from there. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah. I’ve been on this rant lately about how the funnel is completely flawed, and funnel thinking leads us down these very atrocious routes that end up with… I was chatting with a marketer a month or so ago, who disclosed that their MQL to SQL rate was 2%. So, they’re doing all this great demand gen work, and people are being rewarded for hitting MQL targets. Meanwhile, to your point, the salespeople don’t care about those leads. They don’t want them. They’re not getting the right people in the hoop. 

So, the promise of ABM is something that I think a lot of people are hungry for, but not everybody has actually been able to implement or to action in a meaningful way. How many, when you’re talking ABM, what’s your kind of target account universe from a numbers perspective? Are we talking in the 1,000 to 10,000 range? 10 to 25,000? Are we under that? Talk to me a bit. 

Daniel Englebretson: Yeah, it really varies by vertical, and the total addressable market in those verticals, and most of my experience at Phononic has been in three verticals. Our optoelectronics, which is the laser transceivers for datacom and telecom, our life science healthcare, which is selling medical-grade refrigerators to hospitals, basically, and in our retail segment, which is selling… We have a countertop point-of-sale freezer that we sell into retail environments. So, in the work-

Carman Pirie: I know about that and I’m thinking about it for a wine store buddy of mine. A guy that runs a wine store. I’m gonna send him your gear after this podcast. It’s really cool. But anyway, I digress. 

Daniel Englebretson: Oh, yeah, yeah, let me know, and we have a pretty interesting AR app if he wants to see it sitting on the countertop. So, you know, in optoelectronics there, when we started, we thought there was about 40 accounts, so the world engagement was 40. As we got into it, we learned there were closer to 90 accounts. It took us a while to figure out, so the campaign we would run there, or that we are running there, is two tiers. There’s about 15 accounts in the tier one, and the remainder in tier two of the 90, and that’s what we’ve been running with. And that’s actually an excellent use case for ABM. When you have a small TAM, and you need to win a large percentage of it, being as relevant as possible when you’re doing your marketing to those accounts is always going to improve your likelihood of converting it, and also putting in place the listening and the structure to pay attention to what’s going on at those accounts helps your win rate.

So, that campaign, the tier one campaign, you had referenced digging around on my LinkedIn, that was actually the campaign that we won an interesting award with from Demand Gen Report. We achieved a 100% win rate in that tier one campaign over 10 months, and that was absolutely part of what makes ABM awesome. 

But moving out of that, life sciences, there’s about 6,500 hospitals. When we were breaking down the targeting… I’ll jump to the end. They map back to what’s called IDNs, integrated delivery networks, and there were about 65 that we were targeting, which represented about 2,200 hospitals. So, from an account perspective, we were organizing it by IDN, but from a physical location perspective, it was the 2,200. 

And then in food and beverage, we have many different sub-verticals that we get into, but most of the… all of the campaigns that we’re running right now are tier one and tier two structured, and usually there’s 20 or 30 tier ones, and then there may be 150 or 200 tier twos. 

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Carman Pirie: So, I want to kind of unpack this tier one campaign that we won all the awards for, and I mean, we cannot just let 100% win rate go-

Jeff White: Go unnoticed. 

Carman Pirie: … unnoticed. Yeah. So, give us the anatomy of that campaign a bit, and let us… give us a look under the hood, if you will. 

Daniel Englebretson: Yeah. Yeah, so maybe not for everybody, but for me, the foundational tactic in ABM that’s most different from what you might be doing in traditional demand gen is the account-based programmatic display, where you’re serving ads to specific roles at specific accounts in a fairly controlled way, which is a big way you save on your costs, as well. And so, all of our campaigns, including this one, include account-based display. We leverage Terminus ABM, and we start out the campaigns by running ads.

And actually, I should take a step back and just talk more fundamentally. When we start a campaign, there’s a campaign brief that basically lays out, “Here’s who we’re gonna target, here’s what we’re gonna say, here’s the timeline we’re gonna do it in, here’s the metrics for this campaign that we need to hit, in terms of how many accounts are we targeting, engaging, activating, converting, et cetera.” And then we get sign off with our sales partners that those metrics make sense, those are the people we’re gonna target, this is the message we’re gonna run. Then we do a buyer journey process, where we map through, using Visio, basically the customer’s perspective of each role type that we’re trying to engage with, and it might be two or three roles we’re trying to engage. And we go through awareness education, preference, intent, and map out what do we think they’re thinking about, and how do we think our product solves that for them? And then we also do that with our sales partners, run through that. Make sure sales is like, “Yeah, my customers actually think like this.” 

And from that, it shakes out the content that we’re gonna create, and so we don’t create any content that doesn’t map back to that. Whether it’s an infographic, or a case study, or a testimonial, whatever, it all maps back to the buyer journey. Nothing gets created outside of the buyer journey. But in doing that, and partnering with sales to get all that right, that’s what informs those ads that I was speaking about in the awareness stage, so we typically run the awareness ads using programmatic account-based display, and those will run for a period of time. 

And to shortcut it for you, we looked at this quarter over quarter for a couple years now, and we were trying to identify at what point after seeing our ads is there a threshold achieved where we should start engaging with other tactics? And so, the idea is get the ads in front of the audience that you’re trying to hit, and we do tailor the ads. Let’s say we’re targeting purchasing and engineering, well, purchasing will see one ad, and engineering will see a different ad. Or let’s say we really need to get into purchasing in this account, and not engineering in that account. Well, then you can dial up your spend for this department, dial down your spend for the other department, and really influence which departments you’re trying to engage with. And in the case of the campaign, the optoelectronics campaign, one of the challenges we were also trying to solve is we have this geographic location, but not that geographic location. So, we can even dial up and dial down by where they’re physically located, as well. 

So, we’ll run those ads for a period of time, and we look for a threshold of engagement with those ads, and that threshold typically… Well, it’s always measured in impressions when we’re doing the thresholds, but when we’re comparing the thresholds, it’s measured in impressions. How many impressions have to be delivered before the threshold’s achieved? But what we’re looking for in identifying the threshold is how many unique people are engaging, how long are they engaging, how many times are they engaging with our content? And once you get over that threshold, which the last time we did it, I think it was like 6,900 impressions, or something like that at the account, there’s massive improvements in the engagement at that account. And then we layer other tactics. 

And so, generally speaking, the campaigns also layer personalized email, which we’ll fire off at these contacts at these accounts, and then from that, we’re listening and looking for spikes in engagement, which we’ll then layer other tactics on top of from engaging, a more proactive engagement. So, in some of our verticals, we’ll use outbound calling. In this particular vertical, we have a field sales team that’s doing a lot of work, and a lot of these accounts are actually in Asia, so some of the tactics we use in the U.S. don’t work. And so, once you’re doing that, and you’re paying attention to some of the other things that we’re changing… We will use, if like or example in the Asia scenario, where we can’t get them with the cookie-based, we use IP targeting to target IPs with the ads. 

And then we also use retargeting, where once they have engaged with our ads and come to our site, we will follow them around on the internet with educational content. So, we start with the awareness content, and then we move to the educational, because we know they’ve seen our message. And we’ve done, especially in this particular campaign, a number of webinars that are very technical in nature. It’s a very technical audience. And so, we will package those up, and use them to basically inform our audience on what makes our solution unique. And to be fair, for the win rate, we do have a very competitive value prop, and it’s fairly unique, and it’s a very strong value prop, so that certainly helps in the converting. 

But, so we ran that for a period of time, and in the first four months of doing this kind of cascaded tactic thing, and looking for engagement, one of the big things we were doing was looking at tactics that Phononic had used in the past, like webinars, and then firing them off in the context of ABM, and using some account targeting and account messaging to just see what the change in performance, in terms of attendance, and in terms of converting people out of that on the back end, and we saw big lifts. Off the top of my head, I want to say it was like a 47% lift in engagement when targeting those tactics at specific accounts, versus just more broadly. 

So, as we learned from that, and saw some results from that, we then… We started down the path of really paying attention to much more carefully which departments needed messaging, but also what was different from account to account that needed messaging? So, over time, I would say probably about six months into that, we moved over to one-to-one messaging, where we started running all the ads in a one-to-one way. So, what I mean is we were actually putting the target account logos into the ad, or the name of the account into the ad, or we would put, and or we would put onto the landing page they were clicking through to something that was specific to that account. So, we would work with our sales partners, and they would say, “At this account, this is the key topic, this is the key differentiator, this is the key message that I need to get in front of them.” And so, as we were learning that from the sales team on an ongoing basis, we were tailoring what we were saying to the accounts, and how we were saying it to the accounts, and also which departments we were saying it to in the accounts. 

So, over the course of I guess about 10 months is how long that campaign we’re referencing ran, there were also some physical events, like trade shows peppered in, that we leveraged account-based to engage the accounts ahead of time, and try to set appointments at the show for the sales team, so we did a lot of messaging to grab people at the show, and to meet with us. And then we did a lot of post-show follow up that was very account-based, as well. 

I mean, over a 10-month period, the same kinds of tactics you would expect in a demand gen campaign, we used in an account-based campaign. The difference is in the collaboration with sales, and in the degree of resolution you get into the targeting and the understanding of what’s happening at the account level.

Carman Pirie: And I wonder, I’m assuming that that level of personalization and company specificity is somewhat the difference between your tier one and tier two approaches. I’m not sure. But I’m curious how much more successful the campaigns have been as you’ve gotten that focused, as you started, like you say, using the logos from your target accounts in the actual ads that you’re showing to them or what have you. 

Daniel Englebretson: Oh, yeah. That’s a great question. I don’t have it in front of me, so I’m not gonna get it totally right, but we absolutely watched that very closely. Not only did we move from static to animated, but we also moved from one-to-many to one-to-one, and tested all of that along the way. And off the top of my head, in the entire year one, I want to say that our overall clickthrough rate on these initial ads was something like 0.4%, and by the end of the last campaign we just measured this on, our clickthrough rate for animated one-to-one ads was 6 and a half percent. So, it went from half a percent to 6 and a half percent.

Carman Pirie: That’s astonishing. 

Jeff White: And those are display ads, which typically, I think-

Carman Pirie: You can’t get a 6-

Jeff White: Thousandths of a percent get clickthrough. 

Carman Pirie: You can’t get 6 and a half percent clickthrough on a display ad, ever.

Daniel Englebretson: Yeah. It’s insane. Yeah, I have it fairly well documented, and actually the team at Terminus was the team that helped me identify that initially, helping me to basically crunch all that, and figure out what the right… Some of the other things we learned along the way were also in the cadence at which we release the ads. So, for example we learned to release them every three weeks, a new set, and one of the things we started doing was instead of just running one set of ads, we always ran two sets of ads, and then at the end of three weeks, whichever one was not performing better dropped off, and we put a new one in. And so, there was a lot that we did around optimizing the ads, and also optimizing the type of ad, and the timing of the ad. 

And ABM is not all about ads, but as you move towards ABM, some of the traditional stuff like outbound email, where you’ve got maybe 10,000 email addresses, and you’re trying to crunch that list, and you get a 10% open rate, and a 2% click rate, those types of things go away, and you replace them with things like outbound advertising from my perspective. Because you’re still sending a message to a target person, a target role, at a target account, with a very targeted goal in mind, and what used to be the subject line of your email campaign is now the wording in your ad, and instead of interrupting them in your inbox, you’re passively marketing to them wherever they are on the internet. And so, there’s all kinds of nuance in there, but that was kind of the initial indication of the effect of what we were doing.

But then we were also measuring things like click rates and open rates on emails, or like the success of setting an appointment on the phone, with and without running the personalized ads, and I think the key in there is not just the ad, but also the threshold of engagement that you’re looking for with those ads to signify that, “Oh, it’s time to launch these other tactics.” So, it was a very interesting thing to learn. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah, you took the question almost out of my mouth there, because that was the next question, is what’s the lift in engagement that you’ve had with the email, with your outbound calling, even with field sales being able to get appointments through the door after that threshold of engagement? And so, do you have a sense of that lift?

Daniel Englebretson: Yeah. Yeah, so we actually, we did test it specifically, and I’m gonna do this off the top of my head, but I want to say that the success rate in setting the appointment on the phone for accounts that were previously engaged in the ABM display wave, versus weren’t, was something like a 36% lift. So, when making the cold dial into the account, although it’s not entirely cold, because you’re listening to what they’re doing, but when making the dial into the account, and trying to set the appointment, the accounts that we engaged with the ads versus the accounts that we didn’t engage with the ads, the ones that were engaged with the ads and met that threshold, we were 36% more likely to get an appointment booked on the phone. 

And that was-

Carman Pirie: That’s kind of lift that makes somebody actually a little excited about picking up the phone and making some calls, you know? 

Jeff White: Yeah, were you finding that when you were getting people on the phone, that they were legitimately recognizing who was calling?

Carman Pirie: Yeah, are they connecting the dots?

Daniel Englebretson: So, that’s a great question, and that’s absolutely what we were hunting for, like whether they connect the dot or it’s subliminal, that was absolutely what I was hunting for, and in that particular experiment, we didn’t… I didn’t get a feel for whether they actually, like whether they were telling us they connected the dots or not. In one of the other ones we did, which was around trade shows, we did run… We actually ran our logo, just our logo, at our target accounts for like two weeks ahead of a trade show, because in this particular vertical we were fairly small and not very well known, and we wanted to convey a larger presence in the market. And so we ran it, we just ran the logo, and part… and I didn’t even really want them to click on it. I just wanted to be present for the audience when we did this. 

And it’s very cheap to do this, and then coming back from that show, versus the prior show where we didn’t do it, the sales guys, a couple of them particularly, reported absolutely that people had commented, “Hey, I’ve been seeing you everywhere.” And one guy, one anecdotal was one of our guys got on a plane and had his Phononic shirt on, and somebody else on the plane was like, “Hey, I’ve been seeing you everywhere. Let’s meet.” That actually happened, and so we were… Those kinds of stories definitely tell me that having your message present in front of your audience in a meaningful way over time lifts their awareness of your brand, and their likelihood of engaging with you. But in the context of the calling, I didn’t get a feel for that, specifically. 

Carman Pirie: You know, I kind of, one thing I love about this, too, is it… Some of digital almost pulls people away from some of that early magic of traditional marketing, where you kind of look at, “Okay, we know we get frequency. We get a message in front of somebody X number of times, and then we…” You know, and in some ways, you’re almost, you’re speaking back to that a little bit. 

Jeff White: But in a trackable, measurable way. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah, we’re coming back a bit to the art of marketing, rather than simply the science of it, but with the science lens applied. 

Jeff White: It’s wonderful. 

Carman Pirie: Yeah. 

Jeff White: Yeah.

Carman Pirie: Does that make sense, Daniel? Or do you think I’m-

Daniel Englebretson: Well, it’s funny that you say that, because I tell people all the time, a lot of times marketers will say, “How is account-based any different from what I’ve always been doing? I’ve always been cognizant of who I’m talking to and what I’m saying,” and things like that. And I usually say there isn’t really a difference fundamentally. Good marketing is fundamentally good marketing. The difference is in the technology. The difference is in the degree of resolution you get in that tracking, the degree of resolution you get in the targeting that’s now available, that wasn’t available before. And then maybe not for everyone, the systems and processes to align with the rest of your business, to have a more holistic view of what’s going on in this account, what matters to this account, what story do I need to tell this account to convert this account, and doing that not just from marketing’s perspective, but from the broader organization’s perspective. 

So yeah, it’s not… I agree with you that a lot of this is just good marketing, but the approach is just much more refined in terms of the targeting and the storytelling. 

Carman Pirie: Daniel, I really thank you for sharing this approach and framework with our listeners. I think they’ll be really interested to hear it, and as excited as I am, frankly. I think this has been a great exploration. I wonder, two years into your master’s of ABM, any kind of… anything you wish you knew two years ago, that you know now, that you wish to share with our listeners?

Daniel Englebretson: Yeah. I guess there are two things that come to mind immediately. Number one is take the time to understand that ABM is a truly different approach. It’s a business. It’s a change in the way your business operates, and there’s a lot of good reading out there. There’s a lot of bad reading out there, too, honestly in my opinion. There’s a lot of good reading out there, and my favorite book on it is actually ABM is B2B, and it really opens your eyes to how it’s just a different approach in how you organize your planning for the campaigning and execution, and so I’d definitely take the time to educate yourself on that and understand how it’s different. 

And the second one, which I don’t know that this is necessarily ABM specific, but marketing can never be successful without partnering with sales. I mean, it just can’t be. From a demand gen perspective, most definitely. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how awesome your campaign is if there’s a disconnect with your sales team. And in the context of ABM, I think it’s important, especially out the gate, to understand that at least in my experience, especially working for large manufacturers, your sales team’s been around for a long time, and the marketing org has been dumping bad leads on them for a long time, and there’s a lot of people out there who are really jaded about the quality of leads they’ve been receiving. And ABM is a totally different approach, so you have to take the time to build the bridge with the sales partner that this is a different thing, but also take the time to understand what problems they actually have, that they actually need solved by ABM. Back to the whole, “I don’t have a problem engaging this department, but I never get this department.” Or, “I don’t have this geographic location, it’s that geographic location.” You know, take the time to understand where you can apply ABM to solve the problems that they have today. Don’t just jump in with ABM and expect the sales team to be super excited about it. You have to really empathize, and understand their perspective, and apply, and then build a relationship, and then go from there. That’s my personal opinion. 

Carman Pirie: I think that’s terrific advice, Daniel. Yeah, those early days of riding around with the salespeople I think stick with you, as you said. And thank you so much for sharing your expertise. It’s been great to have you on the show. 

Daniel Englebretson: Yeah. Thanks for having me. Glad to be here. 

Carman Pirie:  All the best.

Jeff White: All right. Thank you. 

Announcer: Thanks for listening to The Kula Ring, with Carman Pirie and Jeff White. Don’t miss a single manufacturing marketing insight. Subscribe now at kulapartners.com/thekularing. That’s K-U-L-Apartners.com/thekularing.

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Daniel Englebretson

Director, Growth Marketing and Demand Generation

Daniel Englebretson is a B2B marketing professional with a background in building demand generation organizations for Fortune 500 manufacturing and high-growth startups. He blends a strong understanding of martech and problem solving with creativity and a hard-hitting professional drive to deliver exceptional results at speed. Daniel has driven $10s of millions in revenue results, multiple times, starting from 0 and achieving within 1 year; built 4 teams from the ground up, hiring more than 50 people and 10 agencies across 6 COEs; and managed $11M+ in marketing budget, including multiple full-stack builds. He has 30+ recommendations, has won 9+ awards, and has been featured 35+ times. Daniel works hard, plays hard, and genuinely enjoys what he does.

The Kula Ring is a podcast for manufacturing marketers who care about evolving their strategy to gain a competitive edge.

Listen to conversations with North America’s top manufacturing marketing executives and get actionable advice for success in a rapidly transforming industry.

About Kula

Kula Partners is an agency that specializes in maximizing revenue potential for B2B manufacturers.

Our clients sell within complex, technical environments and we help them take a more targeted, account-focused approach to drive revenue growth within niche markets.


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