5 Highlights from SiriusDecisions Summit 2014

SDSummit-0514SiriusDecisions Summit happened last week in Orlando, and Demandbase was there in full force to learn from the sessions, deliver a couple of our own, and mingle with B2B innovators and thought leaders. There was plenty of outstanding content, including a performance by 80s rock star Eddie Money, and we’re excited to take our learnings home (tonight).

Here are five lessons I learned in Orlando that I won’t forget:

1) Hunting is better than fishing

Demandbase customer Tom Berger, Director of Digital Marketing at Iron Mountain, delivered a pair of outstanding case study sessions to standing-room-only crowds on Wednesday morning. One of my favorite parts of his presentation was when he contrasted their approach using Demandbase vs. a method in another vendor’s case study. While that other vendor is looking for bigger ponds to fish in, Tom uses Demandbase to hunt his target accounts. You may go out fishing, hoping to catch a rainbow trout, but come up with nothing but an algae-filled boot. But when you go hunting, you spend your energy tracking a dear until you shoot it – you don’t accidently come back with a possum by mistake. Translation: advertising to more individuals, or even personas, is still a very uncertain practice for a B2B because it’s like fishing in a bigger pond – you never know what will come up on the end of your hook. For marketers that want to target and build awareness with companies they know will make good customers, hunting for targets (aka company-targeted advertising) is a more effective solution.

2) Reframe your business

We heard from best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell in Wednesday’s keynote session. He told several stories about how businesses, and whole industries, underwent transformation – shipping to cancer diagnosis. Bottom line: to make the most of transformation (because it’s going to happen with or without you) you have to reimagine or reframe who we are and what we do.

3) Intelligent growth requires Sales & Marketing Alignment

Also during the keynote session, SiriusDecisions leaders Jim Ninnivaggi and John Neeson talked about research on how companies are achieving intelligent growth. They focused on five pillars of growth, but the most interesting piece for me was that they found there was misalignment between sales and marketing on how to drive growth by targeting new buyers and selling new offerings. Many have talked about the tension and importance of alignment between these two growth-driving departments. But it underscored to me the need for specific alignment on which buyers (or target accounts/verticals/segments) and offerings will really drive growth, and how we can work together to arm each other with the necessary information and insight.

4) Don’t create a product selfie

On Thursday afternoon, there was a very insightful session on messaging (a topic that is near and dear to me as a product marketer). There were eight steps outlined for the ideal messaging architecture, which you can review in detail in the article by Tequia Burt at FierceCMO. The foundation of this methodology is that we need to make sure we’re not taking a “product selfie” with our messaging—only focusing on our company, it’s value proposition and solutions. The more effective approach is to align messaging to our target audiences and their needs, which is something we strongly support at Demandbase with our Personalization Solutions.

5) Demandbase customers win awards

Before Eddie Money took the stage, there were some awards and recognition of B2B marketers who had exemplified some of the SiriusDecisions models and best practices. We were excited to see our customers Polycom, Jaspersoft and Docusign all win 2014 ROI awards for Marketing and Sales alignment. They’re all fantastic companies with talented innovators leading them to huge ROI. And the fact three out of four winners are using Demandbase? We don’t want to say whether that’s coincidence or not, but if you want to see how it’s done for yourself, check out our DocuSign case study.