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The story behind Demandbase's growth Ft. Peter Isaacson (Inbound Success, Ep. 172)

The story behind Demandbase's growth Ft. Peter Isaacson (Inbound Success, Ep. 172) Blog Feature

December 7th, 2020 min read

How is ABM software provider Demandbase beating its own growth projections despite uncertainty relating to COVID?

peter-isaacsonThis week on The Inbound Success Podcast, Demandbase CMO Peter Isaacson shares the story of the company's growth, from the creation of the account-based marketing category, to how they're pivoting during COVID.

He explains how his team shifted gears when the COVID pandemic hit and why the changes they've made have them beating their own growth projections.

Check out the full episode, or read the transcript below, for details.

Resources from this episode:

 

Peter Isaacson and Kathleen Booth
Peter and Kathleen recording this episode

Transcript

Kathleen (00:00): Welcome back to the Inbound Success Podcast. I'm your host Kathleen Booth and this week, my guest is Peter Isaacson, who is the CMO at Demandbase. Welcome to the podcast, Peter.

Peter (00:25): Thanks, Kathleen. Thrilled to be here.

Kathleen (00:27): Yeah. I'm excited to talk with you. You guys have had a phenomenal year and Demandbase has had a pretty impressive growth trajectory in general. So I'm, I'm looking forward to digging into what the the secret sauce is behind your success there. But before we do that maybe you could take a minute and for my guests who might not be very familiar with other you or Demandbase, just talk, talk a little bit about your story, who you are, how you got to where you are today and what the company does.

Peter (00:55): Sounds good. So buckle in, I'm assuming I've got 40, 45 minutes to tell this story that a long career now I've, so I got my start in advertising, did that for several years in New York, moved out number of years at Adobe put together enough kind of areas of responsibility there that it gave me the ability to step up and become a head of marketing. And I've held a few different CMO positions. Most recently I was COO at a dot com healthcare IT company called Castlight Health. We were actually customers of Demandbase about seven years ago.

That got me introduced to Chris Gola, who was the founder and at the time CEO of Demandbase. Got to talking to Chris, just love the space that they were in love, the market opportunity and, and, you know, as important as anything else, maybe more important, like got along famously with Chris and decided to make the move over to become CMO with Demandbase. That was a little over six and a half years ago. Been a phenomenal ride.

We're the leaders in account-based marketing. Probably one of the high points in my career was helping identify ABM as a category that we wanted to fully develop and, and getting that off the ground. And now Demandbase really offers a comprehensive platform for all aspects of account based marketing from identifying the right accounts to go after, to engaging with them and measuring the results all the way through your programs.

Kathleen (02:37): I love your story. And I, because I always love hearing when somebody has been a customer of a SaaS product, and then, and then they go on to be, you know, the head of marketing. I've had one or two other guests that have come into their roles that way. And I always just think that's such a great testament to, you know, the actual quality of the product itself, because it really does take a lot as a customer to say, I want to go work for that company and help them grow. So that's,

Peter (03:03): Yeah, it was, it was a great, it was a great transition. And as you said, it was part of my go-to narrative during the first couple of years of you know, meeting customers and prospects and stuff, just talking to them about the fact that I was a customer to one.

Kathleen (03:17): Yeah. There's no better testament to the quality of it than that really. So you said something that also really struck me and that was one of the highlights of your career was really getting to create the category of account-based marketing. And while this whole interview is not going to surround category creation, it certainly could.

But I did want to just say that I that's so, so interesting to me and that that's how you and I originally connected cause I was picking your brain on category creation because so many marketers talk about doing it. And so few have actually done it. And, and I do want to ask you a few things about that. Cause I think I would be remiss if we didn't, if we didn't touch on that as part of this interview when did that process start? When did you realize you thought you had a new category?

Peter (04:06): Well, it wasn't so much. We thought we had a new category. The process started when we decided that we needed a new category. And really the basis for it was when I, when I joined Demandbase and talked to Chris and it wasn't some, you know, individual epiphany that Peter Isaacson alone had. Chris was, you know, thinking about this before I joined.

But I think the recognition was that we had a really interesting you know, technology offering that took about three or four minutes to explain. And the reason it took three or four minutes to explain was there was no context for it. It was kind of a it's demand gen, but it, you know, focuses on the byte accounts. And we were able to identify the accounts and debit and you know, for the early adopters, that was great.

Peter (04:57): Like they were on the edge of their seats and wow, I can't do this any place else. And they were excited about it, but we knew absolutely that a three or four minute pitch was about three and a half minutes too long. And we needed to give context and categories, give companies and marketers individual's context that helps them frame what your offering is.

And that's what led us to understand that we really needed, there was no category we could attach ourselves to necessarily that would be appropriate. So we needed to create our own. Once we decided that we started looking around at, you know, do we invent some, you know, new name, you know that no one's ever heard of. And we decided, you know, there was you know, ITSMA gets credit for this, but there was this term account-based marketing that had been developed really back in 2003 or so.

But it was, it was pretty narrowly focused. Not many people used it, not many people talk about it, but we latched onto that and really attach meaning to it, defined it in the way that made sense for us. And, you know, then it just completely took off. And in ways that I'm happy to talk about that. I'll leave that to you on, on where you want the conversation to go.

Kathleen (06:20): When did, when did you first have that aha moment about the category?

Peter (06:24): You know, it's interesting. I I went and presented at a conference called Predict, which I think was in the late summer of 2014 and Doug Campbell John who was the CEO of a predictive company. And I'm drawing a blank on it right now, but he was his company. It was probably 60 or 70 people, a hundred people. And they put on a conference called Predict. I went and did a presentation that was focused on account-based marketing.

And the, the reaction from the hundred people that were in the audience was so immediate and overwhelming. I literally went back into the office and ABM was kind of a pillar that we were talking about. I was like, look no further. We have our category and we are going to double, triple and quadruple down on this. And that was really what got it going kind of this recognition that there was a spark there that as long as we fan the flames was going to develop into something.

Now you also, you got to convince analysts that it's important. You got to convince the press that, you know, they should write about it. And you got to get a little lucky and have competitors come in and, and fight over it. And all of those things.

Kathleen (07:43): That's amazing. So when you got home, you said we've got to double, triple down on it. What did that look like? I mean, is that you guys just creating a lot of content around what ABM is using the terminology consistently? Were there events, how did you, how did you move forward from there?

Peter (08:00): Yeah, I mean, I, you know, when I say that, you know, you need analysts to cover it, journalists, to write about it customers to want it competitors to compete over it. Those are kind of the four legs of category creation. As I look at it, you really need to figure out how you generate all four of those. Right?

So we specifically built out our content, which included pitch decks and other things, and started going out to analysts and selling them on the idea of an account-based approach. And account-based marketing as the category that was going to transform kind of old-school demand gen that had existed for the last 10 or 15 years. They knew that, you know, demand gen had, as it was executed, had some fundamental flaws, which were starting to show over time. So they were buying into it.

We went out and pitched the story to press, they started taking it in. And then as you said, thought leadership kind of, we started actually creating kind of, this is how you ABM content. I, and really kind of getting out there and saying, this is what ABM is. Here's how you define it. Here's why it's important. And here's how you execute it.

Kathleen (09:14): Great. And, and so fast forward that started in 2014. And I think, you know, it's interesting because I owned a marketing agency around that time. And I remember the first time I heard somebody use the term account based marketing and it was, it was on a sales call.

I was talking to a prospect who was from a B2B technology company and they were looking at hiring us to help them with, it was an inbound marketing agency. And so you know, we were talking about demand gen just as you might think. And, and the question was, well, how does this fit in with an account-based marketing approach? And I'm literally on the call going, Oh, I've got to Google that right now to that question. And then it was just funny.

Cause it was like, as soon as I heard that term for the very first time, then I just started hearing it all the time everywhere. It was weird. It was like, it came out of nowhere. And I think that was around 2015, 2016. If I recall, so it's just, it's funny from, from my perspective, I guess, being in the, in the audience for it, how it, like, it seemed to be something you never heard of it. And then it was like all over the place over there.

Peter (10:22): Yeah. Once the bottle came on with the, you know, the top came off the bottle, it, it just exploded. It really was amazing how quickly it caught fire. And again, it takes a certain amount of luck and timing for category creation. Don't let anyone, don't let someone's outside ego tell you that, you know, it was all just, you know, hard work and, you know anything else that like anything, it takes a little bit of luck and our timing was perfect.

We preceded by about a year or so Terminus coming into the market and starting to talk about themselves as an account-based platform. Engagio came in at around the same time. Eventually a couple of other players and suddenly everything like we, at one point were tracking 60 companies that were using ABM as the way they were positioning their company, whether they had actual ABM technology or not 60 companies at one time were positioning themselves as ABM providers. It was just incredible how quickly it came.

Kathleen (11:22): I mean, and, and side note, that's so crazy that those companies weren't all around like five, six years ago, it doesn't seem like that long ago. And so much has changed in the market. That's wild. As soon as you said the year, I was like, wait, that all wasn't that wasn't a thing back then, but it wasn't, that's nuts. Well, what I really want to talk to you about is the last year or two at Demandbase, because you obviously, it's been, it's been an interesting kind of past five or six years since you've arrived. You had the category, it really took off.

But then, you know, as a marketer, I always think like this when the sexy stuff is, is sort of the boxes checked on that there's the real meat and potatoes of the marketing work and you still have to achieve really strong growth for a company, especially if you're a venture backed. If you, you know, if you're in the kind of space you're in. So talk to me a little bit about what you've been doing at demand-based in the last year, year and a half to really continue to fuel your growth.

Peter (12:26): Yeah, so I mean like any company as you're growing, you hit different stages of growth.

And you know, we hit 2021 was set up to be a very difficult stage for everyone, including us you know, once the pandemic hit and like for a lot of reasons which I can go into I just 20, 21 has turned out to be a phenomenal year for Demandbase, I think culturally we've kind of pivoted a bit and become kind of far more aggressive you know, put, you know holding each other a little bit more accountable than than we had in the past.

And, and, and some things like that, but also pivoting pretty quickly to kind of address the new reality that existed within the macro economy and the micro economy as it related to, to Demandbase in our business.

Kathleen (13:31): And, and how big is your marketing team now?

Peter (13:35): We've got about 23 folks on it, 23, 24.

Kathleen (13:39): Okay. And what does that, how does that break out in terms of areas of focus?

Peter (13:44): So we've got, you know, it's pretty traditional, it goes across it goes across corporate communications digital marketing demand, gen customer marketing into marketing ops and product marketing now actually with the Engagio acquisition product marketing now technically reports into through John Miller and the product team. But they've always been aligned with marketing and, and still kind of share a, kind of a close relationship with us on that.

Kathleen (14:24): So, and you mentioned that the pandemic, you know, none of us could have foreseen that that was coming. And I, I don't know if you're anything like me. I had funny enough just joined a new company last January, and I think it was like, I joined January 13th and by January, by February 10th, I had come up with like my 30, 60, 90 day marketing plan.

And then I remember within like three weeks of that, I had to just toss it all out the window because I, it was a very small startup, it's a different company and and all of their leads were coming in through events. And so until we could get a real good inbound engine going, we had a lot of events we were focused on and then it was like, okay, we're not doing that anymore.

So I'm, I'm, I'd love to hear from you. What were you all planning prior to the pandemic? And then how did you make that shift? Because it's obviously, you've obviously managed to make lemonade out of lemons.

Peter (15:18): Yeah. So, I mean, we had gone through our planning process. We were kind of executing the plan and you know, going along happily hearing about this thing called COVID-19, but you know, it wasn't it wasn't a big issue.

And certainly in late January, early February our big event each year is the ABM innovation summit which was really the, the only big ABM focused event that was out on the market. And we typically had, you know, over a thousand marketers and sales folks attending.

And it was for this year for 2020 was scheduled for, I think March 13th, March 13th and 14th, or March 12th and 13th. We were a week and a half away from it. Which means that, you know, 90%, 95% of the work had already been done everything, you know, we were doing the final kind of prep for it and, you know, slides and stuff like that.

Peter (16:17): And we made the gut wrenching decision that we were going to have to cancel it. I'll never forget it. We made the decision, I think, on a Friday and it was a serious toss up. We weren't sure we were doing the right thing, but we decided to go ahead and cancel it. And I'm thinking kind of, you know, questioning ourselves for the next 24 hours within 48 or 72 hours.

It was so clear that there was no way we were going to hold a conference and events that just kind of unfolded that quickly. As you probably remember, it was just went from like a, Hey, I think we could still do an event and pull this off to, Oh my God, there's no way, we're no way we're doing this. And it w it was, it was, you know, a gut punch to the, to the marketing team.

Peter (17:10): And I, you know, I don't think I've ever been prouder of the marketing team when kind of collectively everyone did this disappointed, exhale, like, ah, we're not going to be able to put on our event that we've been working so hard on for the last four or five months to okay, what's next.

And the pivot that I think Demandbase made, but also a lot of other companies was just extraordinary kind of identifying like, okay, we're, you know, it's going to be a hundred percent digital are, may, you know, some of our main tactics like events are off the table, our field events, our activities, our dinners, things like are gone. What's going to make up the, you know, fill the gaps.

So we started doing everything from you know, doubling down on our own advertising investment which we were already investing heavily in, but put more money into, and then you know, webinars, true virtual events converted the ABM innovation summit to to a virtual road show.

And then started doing things like you know, converting our direct mail and things that we had done like virtual or excuse me field events into virtual wine tastings, right? Sending out a bottle of wine to 50 prospects and customers and doing virtual tasting. So things just happened so quickly that it was extraordinary and the results were fabulous. I mean, we really especially during those early days, we just didn't skip a beat.

Kathleen (18:45): Wow. I mean, kudos to your marketing team because a little over a year ago I was working at another company where we put on an annual conference. And so I've definitely I experienced firsthand how grueling it is to, to do that.

And the work that goes in and just the, especially in the last few months leading up to it and to have to make that decision so close to the date of it. I, I can't even imagine. But it absolutely sounds like it was the right decision to make.

Peter (19:19): It was the right decision to make, but as, as you know putting these on Kathleen, like about a week and a half before, you're at that point where you're wondering yourself, is this all worth it? And it's the payoff of the event itself where you're totally energized and it's a company event at, at your process.

Everyone loves it. And so, you know, inevitably it's like the highlight of the year and, and you know, that that's coming, like, that's what gets you through. And the fact that like you stopped just before and you don't get the pay off is what's really kind of just general.

Kathleen (19:54): Yeah. I've always felt like events were a little bit like that time period. You described as a little bit like the last few weeks of being pregnant when you're like any day now, any day, now it could be over and then you have your baby and you're thrilled and happy, and it's wonderful. And you forget that the last few weeks of being pregnant are not any fun at all. So

Peter (20:17): Literally my so sorry, we don't go. I have to go down to too far down the pregnancy path. I've never been pregnant myself obviously, but I did quote something that my wife said after her as she was heading in with her second our second kid was the, you have to be so uncomfortable by eight and a half months pregnant to want to go knowing what you're going to go through to want to go through that just for it to end. So it's kind of like I, yeah. Okay. Yep.

Kathleen (20:49): Yep. And then much like pregnancy events is the same way you say, Oh, I never want to do that again. That was so much work. And then your brain has a magical way of wiping all the hard parts away and making you think, do it again next year or whatever.

Peter (21:02): So, so true. But

Kathleen (21:03): As you say, like, I won't, I won't belabor ha no pun intended the pregnancy analogy, but yeah, that's amazing. One of the things I'm dying to ask you is have you continue doing those sorts of virtual events and virtual, what would have been field events and have you seen any change in in participation in the results you're getting? Because I hear so many marketing leaders talk about the fatigue that's kind of started to set in with virtual events.

Peter (21:34): Yeah. it absolutely has without a doubt. So it's just, it's funny how just digressing for a moment, like how many things have changed so quickly during this COVID period. It just seems like everything has been compressed and trends that usually, you know, evolve over a couple of years have happened like in, in seemingly a couple of weeks. Right.

And, and just as a digression, I think, think back to the, during the very first days of the pandemic, every, you know, every marketer was telling the rest of the HR team and sales team, like you've got to show empathy, like don't just jump into a sales kind of thing. And, you know, boom, I want to sell you this. Every marketer, you know, was saying like, you've got to show empathy, you've got to address the situation like in these unprecedented times that we're all like, yeah, well, you know, Hey, I understand that the times are tough.

And there was like two sentences of like empathy. And after about two and a half weeks, people were thinking like, if someone begins an email with these are unprecedented times, I'm going to scream. And like, we immediately pivoted as like, stop trying to show fake empathy. Like those things

Kathleen (22:54): That became the punchline.

Peter (22:56): It became the punchline, but it happened in like a matter of a couple of weeks. It seemed, it was just, it was just amazing. So anyway, getting back to your question. Yeah, there absolutely was fatigue in a way that, you know, usually develops over a couple of years, happened in a couple of months, like suddenly at first and during the pandemic, we were blowing away all numbers for webinars and virtual events and things like that.

Just like, I think a lot of companies were, as people suddenly found themselves with a little bit of extra free time, they were looking for opportunities for professional development. They were looking for opportunities to replay some of the events and conferences that they had been to that provided them an outlet for professional development and things like, and, you know, the numbers were just extraordinary. And then, you know, by August it was kind of like, wow, the numbers just started falling off a cliff.

Peter (23:55): And so we've definitely seen it. What's, you know, what's now required is you've just got to get much better about the content that you're providing, the length of time you're providing it, the, you know, the combination of, you know, tape versus live, things like that. You've just got to get much more creative in terms of what you're doing and how you're doing it. So what are you finding is working right now? So we've, we've gone to fewer webinars, right?

We were kind of loading up on them at the beginning and now we're kind of really dialing back on what we're, what we're looking at is really doing kind of more tent pole events that have high value, great content outside speakers with some things that, you know, folks want to hear and trying to mix it up live and and recorded so that it feels a little bit more spontaneous and aligning our message around that rather than a lot of little things or, and making sure that the big things aren't like full day sieges where, you know you're, you're hoping that people will spend eight hours looking at a zoom and, you know, that's not happening anymore.

Kathleen (25:16): No way. I mean, I can only speak from my personal experience that I, I sign up for lots of those things, but if you ask me how many I actually go to it's the zero I, I look at the wall of, of you know, things on my calendar, like of virtual sessions. I just think who has time to say, I mean, the only reason it works in person is because you're literally physically removed from your office.

And even then I think people sit in conference halls and they're checking their work email, and they're on their laptops and they're multitasking anyway. But, but the difference is there's an expectation that changes when you're physically gone that isn't present, I think when you're attending something virtually. So,

Peter (25:59): Yeah, I agree. I think I totally agree. And that's, that's just made it more and more challenging. I think. So what we saw were quite honestly, this is, it worked at the beginning, but it's working probably even better now is high value kind of curated smaller opportunities.

And I mentioned virtual wine tasting that has, that's been a home run for us just because it's something special. It's something at the end of the day, it involves alcohol in any way. Everyone's using that more and more as a crush these days, that through challenging times but it also provides kind of some fun networking opportunities.

And, you know, it's not something that works with a crowd of 200 or 300, but it works super well with a crowd of 50 when you can, you know, do some breakouts, meet some new people, kind of over a glass of wine, talk about, and then come back together, share your experiences and do stuff like that. Those types of more curated high value experiences have proven to have some staying power and are the things that folks are still willing to invest time in.

Kathleen (27:15): And of course the question I always hear from marketers, when we talk about things like that is, you know, how are you handling the fact that when you send, for example, that wine to your participant, that you're sending it to their home address in many cases like that's one of the interesting things that I've seen really change about ABM in the last year was it used to be, you know, great, we'll do like a dimensional mailing with something really cool to invite somebody to the event or what have you. And we can always send it to their office. And and you know, it's, it's just not the case anymore. So how is your team handling that?

Peter (27:49): Yeah, I mean, again, for high value you know opportunities folks are, you know, more than willing to give their their home address, kind of understanding that if you send something to my office, I'm probably not going to get it until next March.

There are also you know, Sendoso, PFL, those guys have, you know, they recognize that the stuff that the office is just not working, so they've been building their database and providing kind of opportunities to kind of get the home addresses and provide that. So we've relied partly on our own outreach and partly you know, on vendors that are that have platforms.

Kathleen (28:32): Nice. And then as you think about your 2021 planning, I mean, obviously none of us has a crystal ball. We have no idea when, you know, when, or if the world will ever return to what we used to think of as normal. But how are you applying kind of the experience you've had this year and the lessons learned to what's in your 2021 plan?

Peter (28:54): Yeah, I mean, our one, our going in assumption is that that we're not going back to where it was anytime soon. I mean, even with the vaccine coming in, you know, Q1 midway through, you know, and getting through the population mid Q2 I'm not sure the CDC thinks in quarters like we do, but that's how I'm thinking about it.

But we just don't think any of that's going to return for, you know, not in 2021, maybe not in 2022. So everything that we're doing is, is virtual. I think what's benefited Demandbase quite frankly is, is two things really the reason that we've done quite well this year one account-based marketing just makes intuitive intellectual sense when you're dealing with scarce resources, because it's all about focusing your dollars on the stuff that's really going to move the needle and, and drive your business forward.

Peter (29:54): So there's been a lot of like, yes, I need to focus and account-based marketing as a way to focus. The other thing that's happened is the CEO of of Microsoft kind of now famously earlier in the summer said two years of digital transformation have now taken place in the, in the last two months.

And all these companies that we're talking about, digital transformation have accelerated it. And at the beginning, I had all kinds of conversations about what Demandbase offered, but also just about digital transformation, writ large with with customers. So, you know, some, some, especially some very large companies that were really focused on, on digital transformation have made that switch.

So right now our 21, 2021 planning is all about taking advantage of that digital transformation about like having, you know, companies and engaging with them on now that your digital first enterprise or mid-market company, how you actually, you know, execute that in a way that's going to be very focused around your account.

So you know, our, our account-based advertising plays a huge role in that the ability to personalize your website plays a huge role in that, and then how you align your sales and marketing teams around kind of data and insights that they can both act on is the other part of that. And that's what we're really focused on promoting

Kathleen (31:25): And that approach to kind of that go to market approach. What is that something that's really only accessible for larger companies, or can any company take that approach and maybe do it in a more scrappy way? Like, where's that where's that cutoff line?

Peter (31:41): Well, I see account based marketing as a, as a strategy is accessible to every company, right? No matter how small you are even if you're 10 folks, like it's probably even more important to actually focus on the accounts that are really going to start establishing the beachhead in your business.

That doesn't mean that you need a platform like Demandbase, you don't, and we wouldn't sell it to a company that had 10 people because you just wouldn't take advantage of all there was to offer.

But account-based marketing as a strategy is accessible to all it's the companies that, you know, start reaching a hundred employees and, you know, maybe 25, 30 million and in revenue where kind of really developing or investing in an account-based platform starts to really make sense for them. And they can start really getting kind of full value from it.

Kathleen (32:38): Great. Well, it'll, it, it will be interesting next year to see what happens with events. I mean, I've heard a lot of back and forth from some people saying in person events are coming back and my my personal take on it is even if they do, I think a lot of people are going to have PTSD honestly, and, and be too afraid to, you know, I think even when some people are vaccinated, it's going to be, it's going to be a muscle.

We haven't flexed in a long time. And so I certainly don't see virtual events going anywhere. I think the challenge is going to be, how do we keep it engaging? How do we you know, continue to innovate in a way that people show up and participate. And it sounds like those smaller format events are, are definitely the way to go.

I was interested that you said that your wine tasting is that you have like 50 people there, because that even almost seemed large to me. So how do you, how do you make an event, a virtual event with 50 people still seem intimate?

Peter (33:33): You so you do breakouts. You basically come together. So we've kind of got the formula down now where we've we come together, there's a host, right? So sometimes it's me, sometimes it's someone on my team. Sometimes it's a a sales leader, but there's a host that welcomes everyone kind of gets the ball rolling. Usually tees up a topic or two that we'd like to kind of cover.

And we also mix it in with kind of a couple of, you know, icebreaker types of things like, you know you know, what are you binge watching now? And some things like that, but we usually do kind of three breakouts where we get into breakout rooms of five people, or so four people, we do that for like seven minutes and we come back as a group and then we just invite, you know, Hey, what do people say about binge-watching?

What did what's, you know, the best superpower that you heard, things like that. And some people are on chat. Some people are, you know, very vocal and, you know, expressing, and it becomes a bit of a free for all, but a fun free for all,

Kathleen (34:39): For a few drinks,

Peter (34:40): A couple of glasses of wine, everyone's feeling pretty good and everything. So the key is kind of breaking it out, just like, you know, if you've done, you know, bigger planning meetings, things like that, you've got to break out, come back together, break out, come back together. That format has worked super well.

Kathleen (34:58): And do you generally find, I mean, let me rephrase that in my experience, when I've gone to those kinds of events, the ones that I've enjoyed the most have had very small amounts of like presenting slash selling and very large amounts of more just social time. How do you generally kind of land on that balance?

Peter (35:17): So it's a slide free environment, 100%. So we, don't kind of, Hey, now that you've got your wine, settle back in and now, you know, let me drone on about like seven pitch deck slides that I want to take you through.

So we never do that. It's usually just, you know, an, a two sentence opening, like, you know, we got a lot of customers got a lot of prospects that anyway, just a level set, like Demandbase, here's what we do, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And then usually it's teeing up kind of one, or maybe two areas to discuss around account based marketing. And it's, you know, let's talk about the biggest challenges you have with sales and marketing alignment, right? So it's not about Demandbase.

It's more about your challenges as marketer that you're facing and let's have a conversation about that. And, you know, if Demandbase comes up in that fine, if it doesn't, that's fine too. We were really just kind of teeing up challenges that that sales and marketing folks have.

Kathleen (36:16): I love that then all these questions are totally selfish because I'm going to be doing some events like that next year or so I may or may not be taking a lot of notes as you talk. No, that's great. Thank you for sharing all that detail. I mean, I could ask you questions about this all day, but we don't have all day.

So I want to shift gears for a minute and there's two questions I always ask my guests. And I'm very curious to hear what you have to say. The first one is, you know, the podcast is all about inbound marketing. Is there a particular company or individual that you think is really kind of setting the standard for what it means to be a great inbound marketer?

Peter (36:53): Yeah, I mean, I, so when I think of inbound, I'm going to transition it to demand gen, which transitions to ABM. So I think about it as like an account-based marker. So I'm going to, I'm going to change the frame of reference if you, if you're okay with that. You know what, I've I've been blessed to work with three outstanding heads of what we call demand gen or growth marketing, but they're really kind of focused on ABM.

And the first one that I worked with at Demandbase, Sherry Johnson, she's gone on and and is now a consultant doing great work. Second was Lisa Ames. She's gone on and is doing unbelievable things. And Brian Finnerty is our current who has been phenomenal in his role. All three of those are absolute pros and, and know so much about about account-based marketing.

Probably the person that knows most about it was actually co-authored the book that I wrote and did a lot of the heavy lifting. And that's Jessica Fewless who is now working at Inverta partners as a consultant. So these folks have gone on and are now kind of teaching other people how to, how to do ABM.

Kathleen (38:05): Those are all new names for me. So I'm definitely looking forward to checking them out. And, and for anyone listening, I'll make sure to put links to their LinkedIn profiles in the show notes. Second question. A lot of the marketers I talk to say that their biggest challenge is just keeping pace with how quickly the world of digital marketing changes and staying on top of all of that. How do you personally stay educated?

Peter (38:28): But it's a great question because, you know, going to conferences, you kind of, you know, absorbed through your you know, what was going on and, and things like that. And you were always able to pop into different things. Right now, what has been most helpful to me have been the CMO kind of zoom networking things that I'm able to engage in.

You know, you and I are part of Revenue Collective you know, but other other folks through nicer has put on some CMO networking things. And there have been others that I've participated in across this past year in particular. Those have been the most useful for me. I mean, I'm, I'm paying attention to tech crunch and Diginomica and, you know, things like that.

And they're always useful for kind of what's going on with product launches and M&A, and things like that, but what marketers are doing, I get the most out of my CMO networks.

Kathleen (39:29): It's interesting. I feel the same way. I used to listen to a lot of podcasts and now that I'm not commuting anymore, I've, I've really reduced that dramatically. And, and similarly, my kind of networks of other marketing leaders have replaced that.

So that is, I wonder if there's like a more macro trend going on with the emergence of, of closed groups. I mean, there always have been close groups, but I wonder if it's really kind of like you described earlier, how trends have accelerated dramatically this year. I wonder if that's one of them.

Peter (39:58): Yeah. Yeah. I, I agree. I, yeah, I used to be much more in tune with podcasts now and that I'm not commuting. It's just, I don't have any time during the day, and it's very difficult for me to, you know, go through 10 hours or 11 hours and then say, I want to hop on a, you know, B2B podcasts.

Kathleen (40:17): That does not sound like my idea of weekend fun.

Kathleen (40:22): Well, great. So if somebody is listening and they want to learn more about Demandbase, or they have a question for you, what is the best way for them to connect with you online?

Peter (40:32): Sure. So you know certainly our website is great. But if you want to connect with me personally find me on LinkedIn. Love to chat with you that way.

Kathleen (40:45): And again, I'll put those links in the show notes. So if you want to learn more about Peter or about Demandbase, head to the show notes, and you can hit those links. And if you're listening and you enjoyed this episode, or you learned something new head over to Apple podcasts, or the platform of your choice and leave the podcast a review.

That's how other folks find out about us. And of course, if you know somebody else doing amazing inbound marketing work, tweet me at @workmommywork because I would love to make them my next guest. That's it for this week. Thank you so much, Peter.

Peter (41:18): Thank you, Kathleen. This was fun.

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