Thursday, May 05, 2016

Engagio Goes Beyond Account Based Marketing to Unify Marketing, Sales, and Service

Maybe you think Account Based Marketing is utterly revolutionary or maybe you think it’s nothing new at all. Or maybe, like me, you’ve decided that getting marketers to think in terms of accounts is a modest but real change whose true significance is that it finally aligns marketers with how the way salespeople have worked all along. None of that matters, according to Engagio’s Jon Miller, because ABM is dead. The new boss is Account Based Everything. Done truthfully, that could be called Honest ABE, which would be sort of fun.  But I digress.

Of course, Miller is a master marketer, so we could just chalk up his claim to skill at attracting attention. But Engagio's latest product, Engagio PlayMaker, actually does occupy a space in between marketing, sales development, field sales and customer success by connecting them without replacing existing marketing automation, CRM, or customer success systems. So – like all good marketers – Miller has found a distinctive message that accurately distills what’s unique about his product.

Let’s look a little closer. Like Engagio’s earlier analytics products, PlayMaker starts by pulling data from CRM and attaching leads to accounts. (Remember, or be shocked to learn, that leads in Salesforce are independent of accounts; when they are connected to accounts they become contacts. It almost makes sense if you think about it a little. But don't think about too much or your head might explode.) This matching is a major challenge that has itself been the basis of entire products such as LeanData.  Its primary use has been accurate lead-to-revenue reporting but it supports Account Based Marketing as well. Engagio tries to match on information within the lead record itself and, if that fails, appends data from LeadSpace to help.

Once the lead-to-account relationships are established, Engagio feeds them back to CRM and to marketing automation. It then uses information from those systems, plus Engagio’s own Web behavior tracking tag, to prepare account-level reports on reach (percentage of leads at target vs non-target accounts), coverage (number and positions of leads at target accounts), awareness, engagement (time spent with company materials), and impact. Target account lists can be built within Engagio or imported. This reporting was part of Engagio’s original products.

What’s new in PlayMaker is, well, plays. These are account-specific sequences of messages which can be executed in multiple channels (email, phone, social, direct mail) in multiple systems (marketing automation, CRM, customer success) and targeted at different people within the account. Some messages can be automated but most are assigned to human sales or service agents. Plays can also include internal communications, tasks, and project checklists that don’t involve an external message. The system can store templates for standard messages such as emails or call scripts, although users are expected to customize these before delivery. Naturally, the system offers a range of reports on play status, execution, and results. It can also execute batch plays that apply to multiple accounts.

The actual functionality here is pretty modest – a play is just a set of tasks assigned to different people.  But coordination across marketing, sales, and support departments is actually a pretty big deal. Combining it with an account-centric perspective is even more important because neither marketing automation nor CRM are inherently account-based.  None of this exactly replaces Account Based Marketing itself, but it does highlight the marketing-to-sales alignment that I feel makes ABM important.

PlayMaker is due for release at the end of this month.  (Pre-announcement is another habit of master marketers.)  Pricing will be based on the number of unique "account owners" (as shown in the CRM system) and users.   It will start as low as $1,500 per month.

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