Inbound 2018 was filled with many interesting ideas about the marketing landscape. One of the sessions that caught our eye was a talk titled ‘The Future of Marketing’ by Sangram Varje, Chief Evangelist and Co-founder of Terminus, the account-based marketing platform.

At a glance the title seems somewhat audacious, and Sangram joked in his opening remarks that even though his audience didn’t believe that he knew what the future holds, they still filled the room.

So, what was to be gained from his talk? In two words: real value.

Sangram began by setting the scene with established but often long-forgotten truths about the role of marketing and how it’s measured. For example, everybody knows that marketing budgets rise and fall as sales increase and decrease.  And given that marketing and sales are joined and the hip, why is alignment so difficult to achieve? 

Food for thought.

Inbound 2018, brand authenticity and time

Sangram then shared some of the most profound insights about his perspective of account-based marketing. According to him, the real value that marketers can share with their audience today is through authentic engagements.

Authenticity holds more currency than any other marketing approach because it’s based on creating trust through highly relevant engagements with your audience, engagements that speak directly to them and offer value that can’t be ignored.

He also touched on the idea that authenticity must be consistent and has to become the way in which your brand behaves. And when your brand manages to position itself as authentic, that’s when trust is cultivated.

The allbound concept

Account-based marketing is the popular approach today, but for it to work sales and marketing need to know which accounts they are targeting and how to work together to create what Sangram refers to as an ‘allbound’ approach.

Allbound is based on the idea that marketers become highly specific about their target customer profile and use this information with sales to drive authentic engagements. For many marketers, this may seem to be a somewhat daunting undertaking, but it pays dividends.

Allbound Marketing Allbound – Image Inbound 2018 

As an example, Sangram shared how Morgan, a Terminus account executive crushes her quota every month because she knows exactly who her target customer is and does something few sales professionals do to capture the attention of her target customers – she makes personalized videos.

Morgan created over 3000 videos in one year. She uses them for follow-ups by creating specific messages for each person on the decision panel, often recording between two to four videos for each individual. She does this to develop a strong sense of trust and it works.

No prospects, only customers and future customers

It may be that marketers are too focused on KPIs or that we’re following what we understand to be best practices, but there is a fundamental problem with the way in which B2B marketers see their audience. At least, that’s what Sangram thinks, and he has a good point.

Sangram made a strong case against the use of terms like ‘prospect’, ‘hunting’ and ‘farming’. After all, who wants to be hunted or farmed?

Instead, he calls for a more effective approach that marketers should strongly consider. By calling your audience customers or future customers, you completely change your approach to how you engage them. Your messaging becomes focused on value-driven outcomes and not just sales pitches to push a lead down a funnel.

Conclusion

Inbound 2018 was filled with many ideas and one of the most compelling was to create authentic brand engagements. Authenticity builds trust and, when both values are carried forward by marketing and sales, customers have stronger, more focused and meaningful experiences that drive sales.