Episode topic: ABM at Salesforce
In this episode, host Shahin Hoda chats with Stephanie McCredie, Senior Marketing Director at Salesforce, about her journey with account-based marketing. During the conversation, Stephanie talks about the Salesforce ABM centre of excellence and the criteria she uses to determine the tiers of ABM an account should fall in.
She also advises marketers to think big, start small and move fast when executing their ABM strategy and shares some practical tactics to engage with the sales team to ensure success.
This episode’s guest:
Stephanie McCredie, Senior Marketing Director at Salesforce
Stephanie McCredie is a Senior Marketing Director at Salesforce, responsible for Account-Based Marketing, Strategic Accounts and Customer Marketing. She is proud to lead a team focused on amplifying customers’ trailblazing stories and creating mutual and sustainable customer value through account-based marketing experiences for some of Australia and New Zealand's leading organisations.
Stephanie and her team create value for customers and prospects by articulating a clear and tangible vision for their business’ future, providing opportunities to amplify their brand on a global stage while giving back to improve the communities in which we operate.
With over 20 years of experience in B2B marketing, her leadership roles include pioneering ABM at IBM Australia and helping large corporate clients and startups grow across culturally diverse global markets in Asia Pacific, Latin America, Central Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa.
Stephanie believes that great customer experiences are fundamentally about a human connection that can be enhanced and supported by innovative and predictive technology.
Connect with her on LinkedIn
Conversation segments on this episode:
- What does ABM at Salesforce look like?
- ABM COE at Salesforce for each of the markets
- The need for ABM CoE at Salesforce
- Bringing reputational and relationship metrics to gauge ABM success
- Align 100% to strategic accounts in ANZ from an ABM standpoint
- ITSMA scoring card and criteria for selecting the tier of ABM
- How to convince C-level about the returns on ABM?
- Difference between the approach for the net-new accounts versus existing ones
- For engaging net new accounts - bring alive what we are doing socially or making them speak to other customers
- ABM is not a replacement for other marketing initiatives
- Sales engagement for account-based marketing - engage early and often
- ABM is the closest you can get to the customer
- Advice for B2B marketers: Invest time in getting data
- Exciting thing about B2B marketing: Personalisation at scale
Resources mentioned on this episode:
- About Salesforce
- About xGrowth
- Leaders Eat Last - Book recommended by Stephanie
- Bev Burgess - Influencer followed by Stephanie
- Naomi Simson - Influencer followed by Stephanie
- Marc Benioff - Salesforce CEO
- Simon Sinek - Influencer followed by Stephanie
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Episode Full Transcript:
Shahin Hoda Hello everyone, welcome to another episode. I'm Shahin Hoda with xGrowth. And today, I'm talking to Stephanie McCredie, Director of Account-Based Marketing Strategic Accounts and Customer Marketing at Salesforce about how she approaches ABM at Salesforce, how she and her team divide their attention among company's strategic accounts and what are some of the go to strategies that she has when it comes to dealing and engaging the sales team and the kind of work that she does. On that note, let's dive in. Stephanie, thanks for joining us.
Stephanie McCredie Thanks for having me. Great to be here.
Shahin Hoda Yeah, absolute pleasure. I'm really excited to talk about this. And I think they're, you know that experience that you bring from Salesforce and the work that you've done also at IBM in the past, it's like a lot of golden nuggets, a lot of insights. So I'm super excited to talk about it. And I think where I want to start, is if you could give us a high level view of what does ABM at Salesforce looks like? If you could paint us a picture about that, I think that would be a great starting point.
Stephanie McCredie Yeah, sure. So account-based marketing at Salesforce is we have a mix of one-to-one, one-to-few and one-to-many programs across several markets, actually. So we've got account-based marketing in the US, we've got it in Europe, including Scandinavia, I learned from my friends in the Nordics. We've also got it in the UK, and then here in Australia, New Zealand as well. And each of the programs or the different markets had been approaching things in different ways over the last few years, but this year, really thrilled to have a centre of excellence startup for account-based marketing at Salesforce at a global level, and really bring some consistency and some best practices as well as you know, new technologies, etc, into what we're doing in each of the markets.
Shahin Hoda Yeah, that's really interesting. Centre of excellence and people are like, why do you need that? Because I feel like in a lot of other areas of marketing, you know, might be directly influenced by headquarter and you would have, you know, like, even with programmatic ABM, there's a lot of stuff that happens, HQ, and it's a lot easier to communicate, hey, this is how we do things where ABM comes a lot more specific. You know, what was it for you that were the team at Salesforce that kind of felt the need of bringing everything together?
Stephanie McCredie Look, well, first of all, I think consistency in our approach. A community, we're all about, you know, having a community and learning from each other. So what I've really valued is, yeah, that consistency, the community, the best practice sharing, but also, especially as we've gone into with COVID, having more of a digital approach. There's so many different technologies that we ourselves have at Salesforce, but also other technologies that we can leverage that our centre of excellence is now also sort of looking into the latest and greatest technologies we can use how we roll them out.
Stephanie McCredie But one of the key areas that I think most ABM professionals are really challenged within their first year or few years of doing account-based marketing is around measurements, actually. And we found across the globe that ABM needs to be measured in different ways, and we know ITSMA and we follow that methodology of the three R's. But really, traditional marketing has often been measured more on MQLs and pipeline generated and helping progress and close deals.
Stephanie McCredie But for account-based marketing, we wanted to bring in those relationships and reputational measures. How are we going to measure that consistently across the globe and easily? And so I'm thrilled that now I can use a dashboard that uses Einstein analytics and Tableau CRM to visualise for me how my programs performing, but also I can see how the ABM programs are performing across the globe in a consistent way and have that consistent dialogue and discussion with stakeholders both in marketing and in sales.
Shahin Hoda That sounds so hot for an ABM nerd like me, I'm like, that sounds amazing. And in your measurement it is a really hard, hard thing. But I'd like to maybe dig a little bit deeper in terms of the mix of accounts. I know you're responsible for the strategic accounts at Salesforce in the region. Can you give us a little bit of understanding in terms of what the mix of accounts look like that you kind of manage?
Stephanie McCredie Yeah, sure. So in account-based marketing here in ANZ, this is our third year. We're going into our third year of account based marketing. And in the last for this financial year, we have decided to align 100% to the strategic accounts that our business has selected in Australia-New Zealand. And it wasn't necessarily something that was a definite. When we looked at the rigor that was going into selecting the top accounts for our pursuits in the sales environment, I found that they were some of the same criteria that we would want for account-based marketing.
Stephanie McCredie So we've aligned 100%, to that strategic account set. And those accounts come from a mix of industries. So there's nine different industries that those accounts, you know, span across. Some of them, some of the accounts are absolute advocates and trailblazers, and have been working with Salesforce for a number of years across a number of solution areas in a number of their business units. And then there's others that might have just started their journey with Salesforce. And there are also a number of accounts that have what we would call Greenfield, beginning on their journey, you know, that we would see that there is opportunity for them to consider Salesforce because of the industry they're in, the challenges that they're faced with, and that we might already have references and success with other similar accounts of their industry.
Shahin Hoda Right. So there are a lot of, it sounds like a lot of one-to-ones that. Are there like a lot of when you say strategic, are we talking all one-to-one or there are some one-to-few?
Stephanie McCredie Yeah. No, we have a, yeah, good question. We have a handful of one-to-ones. And the majority of the strategic accounts are in the one-to-few model. And that was really purposeful, because we, you know, we really look at ABM from a purist model when it's one to one and really want to be able to go deep. And so to do so, we want to make sure that we've got the right resources aligned to those accounts. So you know, we only have one person aligned to just very few accounts. So they can go deep on each of those in a one-to-one model. In one-to-few, one person can manage a lot more than that, and especially with when we engage our agency. So yeah, we have a handful of one-to-ones, but the majority are actually one-too-few.
Shahin Hoda I'd love that. I love that you say that because, you know, I feel like a lot of, even some of the companies that we work with, and might be new to ABM. They're like, okay, we're gonna start ABM. And we have this batch of companies and we will need to do one to one with them. And you're like, I don't think you grasp the amount of work that is going to go into one one-to-one campaign. It's really cool to hear about Salesforce as well, at Salesforce, you have just a handful that go into one-to-one like you got to be very special to go into one-to-one. How did you go about deciding what goes where? You know, because there are a lot of people involved, right? Sales is like, yeah, everybody, one-to-one, all of them.
Stephanie McCredie Exactly.
Shahin Hoda How'd you make that call of what goes where, which tier we're going to pick for which accounts? How did that work?
Stephanie McCredie Yeah, it was actually quite scientific. And at Salesforce, I'd seen some of the country teams that the UK had been doing account-based marketing a bit longer and had been working with ITSMA for a while. And so they actually had a scoring criteria that I sort of picked up and looked at and when you know what, a lot of this is pretty similar. And in our first year, I almost used that 100%. But going into the second year, which is the year we're in that and you know, just finishing Now, when we were choosing the accounts, then, I actually looked at, there are a couple of accounts that we didn't go so well with in the previous year that had been selected in one-to-one.
Stephanie McCredie And I looked at why that was and I then changed our weighting criteria. So some of the criteria or I can share with you, you know, industry attractiveness. Is this an industry that's growing? Especially in the current times that changed from our year one to year two, because of COVID. Is this customer ready to transform? Are they innovators in their industry? What's our total addressable market for Salesforce in that industry or with that customer? So it could be one thing to have this really great, you know, customer that is what a well-known brand in Australia or spending lots of money on IT, but are they spending it on the solutions that Salesforce have to offer?
Stephanie McCredie The maturity and engagement of the account team was important. And when I was first starting to work with some of these account teams, I actually went to my marketing colleagues and said, especially our exec engagement program, how well does this account director actually work with you? What's the account teams', you know, responsiveness? So yeah, it's using those sorts of criteria and a scoring model, to really try and take some of the bias out. And just to double-check ourselves.
Shahin Hoda Yeah, I love when you say that, I would imagine that was a very interesting meeting. And it's fascinating when you bring that data on the table, and it's not about opinions as much. And also you have the people who have the opinions there as well. And then you go through the process, and they like, alright, I guess I guess the account that I thought it would be great is not going to go in there. And they're okay with that. It's amazing to have that buy in.
Stephanie McCredie Yeah. And the wonderful thing was, is that one of the accounts that came out quite early is actually a complete Greenfield account. And we discussed, you know why it is that it would be right for this type of approach. And also, because we're in year two of that account selection, they had experienced what had worked, and they had seen what had worked in account-based marketing, and they'd heard from their sales teams as to what was working.
Stephanie McCredie So they certainly got an appreciation that the account was selected for account-based marketing, doesn't mean that there's not some great sales opportunities happening right now for those accounts. Or, you know, the ones they're really pursuing in sales may not be the ones that we're looking at for account-based marketing over a two to three-year period. So they really had an appreciation between the selection of an account for account-based marketing versus an account for a sales pursuit.
Shahin Hoda Got it. And, you know, I want to touch on this, that you talked about the length two to three years, hard to convince a marketer to go and say, you know, I'm done designing a campaign that is going to pay off in two years time. And the CEO is like, get out of my office. How did you you know, are there any examples either, you know, from maybe Salesforce, or in the past from IBM, that you could think of that you really had to work for a long period of time on that account in order to kind of open those doors and make it happen?
Stephanie McCredie Absolutely. So I might actually give an example that is prior to Salesforce when I was at IBM and I was launching account-based marketing for the first time on a large bank. I was actually approached to take on this role. And when I was being interviewed by the vice president on the account, he was like, do you really want to do this? You know that right now, we don't have the best reputation. In fact, the board and CEO don't want to hear our name. And we've got to turn this around, where in the second year of a five year contract and in three years time we'll want to renew this.
Stephanie McCredie Like this is one of IBM, you know Asia Pacific's biggest customers and we were a bit on the nose, sad to say. So that was a three-year program, where was winning the hearts and minds and probably the wallets, I guess, of that particular account. And so there's a whole mix of activity that you're doing. But I get your point on how some of our business areas and business leaders are used to and want to see that immediate return. I still, there is still so much that needs to be invested in account-based marketing in the first few months around discovering insights, because that is the basis for everything to do with personalisation. So you still need to have that time and you need to be educating your stakeholders about account-based marketing.
Stephanie McCredie The first year, I would say, half my time was explaining what it was, how we were measuring it, who were the accounts, what are the types of marketing that we can do. And they weren't always delivering immediate results. But what they were delivering was immediate feedback. So the feedback we got from customers, the feedback I got from account executives. Ihave a document, you know, pages long, where I keep their quotes of where they saw the value, because it may not have hit that dashboard yet on the dollar numbers. But it was starting to already hit the relationship and reputational goals we had, which was in turn going to help with the revenue.
Shahin Hoda Got it. So it really needs to also be a large enough account for a marketer to be able to justify a two-three year campaign against that account, right? I mean, that size of success is pretty critical.
Stephanie McCredie Look, I say two to three years, not everyone, like we revisit the accounts every 12 months. So we do relook at the accounts and make sure we have got that I mean, something like COVID happens, you couldn't have predicted that two to three years ago. So when I'm talking about the the two to three years, or the size of the account, I do actually say to people, when they're starting ABM to think big, start small, move fast. So we started with just a couple of accounts in our first few months. And then we were starting to prove the results of that. And then actually moving quickly into how we could program, make it more programmatic. And we could learn what was working with our accounts, and then be able to roll that out.
Stephanie McCredie So what you do want to be looking at is, which are those accounts that they may not necessarily always be the largest accounts, they might be the accounts that are really, you know, if you've got them up on stage, or if they were to be written up as a reference, which is the other part of my team that looks after our customer marketing, are they going to be a real great alignment for your brand? Are they going to really be seen as innovators? Are they really transforming? Are they aligned to your values? So sometimes it's not always the biggest accounts. But we've got some great accounts with Salesforce that have grown in and really changed the markets in which they're in. So they don't have to be large, but they have to be ready to transform is probably what I would say And really, the account team is really willing to do something innovative and different.
Shahin Hoda Got it. Make sense. Talk about net new accounts, and expansion because I know expansion being kind of customer-marketing is also a big part of what you do. How do you approach these two differently? And you know, what do you kind of think about when somebody says, you know, this is also an account that might be one-to-few, or one-to-one that is net new, we have not dealt with them, it's Greenfield versus existing customer, we're looking at expansion?
Stephanie McCredie Yeah. So look, the first thing we do with all of our accounts, as I mentioned earlier, is the discovery phase. So the discovery phase is the same for a net new account as an existing one. I pretend that when we read their account plans that we know nothing. So we read the account plan as to where it's at for that year. We get them to fill out a survey that includes a lot of questions. about where do we currently sit with regard- We overall do the account see us as you know, are they advocates for Salesforce that they are neutral? Are they detractors, you know, are they positive, negative, etc? How many of the stakeholders are neutral, positive, or negative?
Stephanie McCredie How many of you know who are the partners in the account? Like whether it's an implementation partner or a strategy consultant? Who are the key C-suite that you want to learn more about? Who are the ones that are making the decision? So we ask a lot of different questions. We also asked that account how receptive that customer might be to certain different types of marketing. So we can look at what they've engaged in through, obviously, our CRM. But we also want to hear, you know, would they be interested in hearing some thought leadership through a third party that we can bring to them? Would they be coming to a third party webinar? Do they listen to podcasts? Have they ever mentioned this sort of thing?
Stephanie McCredie So we ask a lot of those questions. And then we have the 30-minute discovery call. And then also doing your decision trees and stakeholder mapping and all of that.
Stephanie McCredie But really early in our sales engagement, we tried to deliver value through insights and all sorts of other different things which I can get to when we talk about the sales team engagement. But really, a lot of the, probably the main difference between net new and existing accounts is the level by which we might engage and educate them around Salesforce. Particularly I love to lean into our values. What are we doing in the local community? And how are we supporting, you know, local community initiatives that could also be supported by that particular prospect or customer.
Stephanie McCredie So actually really showing the proof of our values, bringing that to life locally is something that we might try and do more with a new customer, but also with existing also with new customers is, sometimes they may not have as, may not want to attend a one-hour webinar or a different event they might want to short podcast to listen to, or they might want to actually hear from other customers and inviting them into forums where they can hear from other customers. So they're not just hearing from Salesforce, but they can actually also form connections into the Salesforce community that we love. To amplify is more about the whole community around Salesforce and other people that you can learn from,
Shahin Hoda Got it. Got a lot more awareness within those accounts, and of who Salesforce is. I love it. Before talking about sales engagement, there's one other thing that I want to ask you and that goes three years ago, when you started ABM at Salesforce. And when you were looking at picking your accounts, did you have a, maybe let me rephrase this a little bit differently. A lot of organisations when they're starting with ABM, the the thing that a marketer will be scared of is, you know, yes, I want to do a pilot, I want to do a small campaign. But what if I pick the wrong accounts?
Shahin Hoda And then all of a sudden, there's no, you know, I can't show the results. Or maybe I will pick too few accounts. And you know, the chances of one or two of them would work is small, and therefore, you know that I can't justify expanding the program. Did you have those concerns? Were those on, you know, on your list of things to worry about? And did you have that prioritisation matrix as robust to feel strong enough to be like, you know, what, yeah, we're good. We're gonna go based on this, was that there or was it a little bit of guesswork? How did you kind of overcome that challenge?
Stephanie McCredie Yeah, it was, it was definitely there. And we did only start with a small number of accounts, what I would say is, for us, three months into the roll, I actually dropped one of the accounts. I actually said to our CMO, and to the Vice President of that particular industry vertical that that account came from, and to the account executive, I don't think it's the right time for account-based marketing in this account. However, what we all know is account-based marketing is not a replacement for other marketing programs and initiatives. It should complement other things that are happening.
Stephanie McCredie So they can still lean into executive engagement programs, industry marketing, that were still recipients of, you know, seeing our brand across, you know, buses or tram shelters and things like that. They could still come to other events that were just not going to be ready for the deeper account-based marketing. The account wasn't ready. It wasn't in the right sort of industry for us to focus this sort of effort. And I felt we could end up investing a lot of time and effort in an account that was not necessarily going to be a best fit, okay, if we will have a small set of accounts.
Stephanie McCredie So I got a feel for that in the first few months. And in hindsight, it was the right decision. And even more, so it's come to fruition that was the right decision back then. But they're still leaning into a lot of other marketing that is available. It just wasn't right for account-based marketing at that time. So, you know, really don't feel like you have to be, my advice to others would be, trust your instinct too. I mean, I did have the benefit of having done account-based marketing before, it wasn't my first you know, six months, but also talk to those around you. And actually, if you're getting a gut feel, talk to other people that work in that account.
Stephanie McCredie We've got consultants, we've got architects, we've not just the salesperson who's going to say, hey, I need it. But talk to others who are also working in that account to understand if your concerns are valid, or if they can help if you can work through them. So that would be my advice is that it's don't just hang on for you know, to the death because you know, you don't want to not follow through on on something but if it just doesn't feel right start to talk to some other people and in our case, it was the right decision and we still had some success with the other accounts and have been able to grow the, you know, grow the program significantly because we were to show success in other areas, but also that we're brave enough and bold enough to say, you know what, maybe it's not this account, maybe we should look at another one.
Shahin Hoda Okay, let's talk sales engagement, okay? Tell us a little bit about your approach working with sales. We've already touched on some. But let's dig a little bit deeper. How do you kind of start your engagement with sales? And what does that look like?
Stephanie McCredie Yeah, you know, I have a vivid memory of being in a meeting room in Melbourne, I'm actually based in Sydney. But early in my career, I think it was my first year as a marketing manager over 20 years ago, and presenting a marketing plan to a group of salespeople for that particular product. And at the end, they basically said, how did you come up with it? You know, who of us did you speak to, and I hadn't spoken to a single one of them. I'd read all those market intelligence reports and, you know, really thought that I was going to be the expert as to what would be the right marketing for this particular product.
Stephanie McCredie But I hadn't spoken to a single person who was out there selling, I had done telephone sales for that product before but that is always on my mind. And so what I say is engage early and often with your sales team. So from the get go of selecting the accounts, the Sales vice presidents were involved. And then it was working directly with their sales team. And when I say often, for our one-to-few sales teams, we have a call with them every fortnight taking them through all of the programs that are available for them to leverage but also getting their feedback. And we always try and spotlight one of the salespeople, one of their peers who is using an element of the program really well.
Stephanie McCredie It could be a peer-to-peer customer roundtable that we've held that they've lent into.It could be how they're using a particular piece of insight, or an executive profile. Or it could be about how they're, you know, linking those up to actually have a great executive briefing meeting. So we do try to feature, you know, have them engaged with their peers as well. So, but when we engage early, and often, as I said earlier, that discovery phase is really important not just for us to get an understanding of the account, and we want to show them that we've read your account plan, we've, you know, we've read the survey. And then what we do is we want to actually pay it forward and deliver them something of value very early in that engagement.
Stephanie McCredie And when I say pay it forward, it might be an account insights report. So our agency, for example, helps us put together, you know, a three-page account insights report that has everything of share price performance, and in the news and intent data and who the top executives are, and that's something that we present to them that will help them in their account planning as they refine their account plans. We might also provide them with an exact profile really early on the top execs that they're really trying to get relationships with or to grow and deepen their relationships. We do them, you know, not just engage early and often, we're listening, but we also deliver something back of value very soon.
Stephanie McCredie And also really understanding what are their goals? And how can we align the account-based marketing goals accordingly? So then actually developing the three R's for that segment, if it's a one-to-few, or for that account, and how that matches up to the sales goals as well. So really aligning marketing with sales and business outcomes, not just with marketing activities. Also, we realised that, you know, our sales teams aren't necessarily messaging experts. So how we help them in developing really crisp messaging for their accounts, that is going to help them go deeper with personalisation in an RFP, or in other things that they could use. So actually providing them with elevated pitch type messaging, as well.
Stephanie McCredie And then, you know, also with the sales teams, it's how we're also because we cover the strategic accounts, we like to be the conductor of the marketing orchestra for them as well. So how they could leverage exact programs or industry or we've got this happening and may not be something where leading from account-based marketing, but we know from the insights and the discussions we've had, that this should this might be something of interest to your account, you should actually get them along to you know, Lisa's roundtable that she's running or that dinner, etc. So yeah, we also do that as well to actually be their marketing partner.
Shahin Hoda That's amazing. That's amazing. You know, one of the things that I've realised working with ABM campaigns is it's also really important for the sales team to understand how much work goes into an ABM campaign, you know. Where, when you kind of show them the tip of the iceberg, it's like yep, cool. All right. This is just another thing that I have. And I'll take a look at it.
Shahin Hoda But when they actually see the whole of the iceberg, when they are just like you said when they're involved in every stage of it. It's just like I know how much work has gone into this. And I'm now even more motivated. Forget about the fact that now my inputs are here and you know, you've taken that into consideration and mix it into this ABM program but also I've seen this the how hard this team has worked on it, and therefore, I'm a lot more likely to leverage it and put a lot more effort. Have you seen something similar to that?
Stephanie McCredie Yeah, absolutely. They can see, they're part of the formation of the different elements of personalisation, because again, that is what makes account-based marketing apart. We've started with the needs of the account or the cluster of accounts. And then we've built everything out from there. We've built the messaging, we've built the activities, we've built a journey of what we want to take the customer on. And we've also then been saying to the sales team all along the way, what's a key moment that could be mattering to you, like what's coming up, where you might need additional help, because the sales teams aren't used to engaging marketing this way.
Stephanie McCredie They're used to sometimes receiving all of the marketing programs that are available to them, and they have to choose what is relevant for their account. This time, we're trying to create it for them based on the fact that it's relevant for this set of accounts, or for one particular account or one particular pursuit, within an account. So when it happens that way, they are more bought into it, absolutely.
Stephanie McCredie They also need to sometimes be reminded of, oh, you just mentioned that you're and this used to happen in the pre-COVID times that your customers were not able to come to our event because they're going to be in San Francisco. Why are they in San Francisco? Are we having a meeting with them while they're in San Francisco, and then they start to ask those questions, they also now realise the importance of even understanding more about the hobbies of their customer, because we don't want to invite them to the AFL.
Stephanie McCredie If they're a mad rugby fan, you know. We know what team they go for. So we really want to get into that business to person that human interaction, those human touches. And also, you know, to derive that reputation and relationship that other parts of marketing haven't necessarily been measured on or been able to do, because they're not measured on them. So we were able to bring that element that the sales teams are not used to. So sometimes we're often reminding them if we could help you with that. So you know, that's great as well.
Shahin Hoda Yeah, I hear you, I hear you. This has been amazing. I love this conversation. Now, before we wrap up. And I have a few rapid questions I'll ask you. But before I do that, is there anything that, you know, you think about our conversation is important that I maybe didn't ask, but you think that listeners are gonna get a lot of value that we didn't touch on?
Stephanie McCredie Hang in there, it's not easy. You can probably tell I'm a bit passionate about this. It is the most exciting area of marketing right now. And it is the area where you get closest to your customer. So if you're like me, and you've been in sales, but you don't necessarily want to still be in sales, and you want to be really close to the customer, then this is the most exciting place to be, where you can see and hear and feel the impact that your marketing is having. Not just on a business and with a business solution, but sometimes on the people themselves.
Stephanie McCredie You know, I was in a Dreamforce in 2019, where, you know, going into it, someone who was not quite sure about Salesforce going in ends up saying to me, have you always done this account-based marketing thing? And I said, No, not my entire career, but for about the last five years. And he said, because it's really amazing. And I said, what do you mean? And he said, Well, I feel like you're not selling to me, I feel like you really care about me, and you're trying to help me.
Stephanie McCredie And so that really had an impact on him. And I, you know, I never told him I do, I guess it's on the bottom of my emails, I do account-based marketing. And I was introduced more as sort of the person in marketing that can really help and steer them in the right direction. We did very curated agendas and experiences, you know, during business hours at Dreamforce. And after hours, we'd set up very specific meetings, very specific welcome packs, all sorts of things that we've done for them.
Stephanie McCredie But to think that you can actually have an impact in someone's, you know, business decision that could also personally help their career. So yeah, that's what I would say, don't give up, reach out to me happy to talk to anyone and to connect and share stories. It is worth it, but it can take a bit of time.
Shahin Hoda Got it. I love it. I love it. It is probably the most human form of marketing like you're closest to that, but I love that description. Okay, let's do a couple of questions really quick. And before we wrap up, so the first thing I want to ask you is what's one resource, could be a book, podcast blog, whatever it is, that you've consumed, that has changed the way you work or live?
Stephanie McCredie I would say it's a book. And I've read several of these author's books, but the one that probably changed me the most and that I related to and I try and live by, is Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek. So I love, you know, that was helping me understand how I can become the leader that I wanted to become. It also explained a lot about the leaders that really inspired me and why. And also the ones that you know, I learned from for the opposite reason. But yeah, it was more about how, you know, focusing on the people. And then the numbers will manage themselves, not managing the numbers first
Shahin Hoda Got it? Next question. What is one piece of advice that you would give to B2B marketers? What would that be?
Stephanie McCredie Invest time in collecting insights and data from a variety of internal and external sources. It could be quantitative data, qualitative data, looking at social media, you know, really using that data to inform your messaging and your programs to be more relevant to your audience. Relevance is just so important right now in a very crowded marketplace. So to be relevant, you know, really finding the data and insights that's going to move the needle.
Shahin Hoda Got it. Question number three, what are some of the, who are some of the influencers that you can follow in this space?
Stephanie McCredie Well definitely, Bev Burgess from ITSMA. Actually, yes, I do have her book here.
Shahin Hoda Oh, there we go.
Stephanie McCredie I've even got a signed copy. Look. Yeah. So Bev is like a not just an expert on account-based marketing, but just a lovely human. I, you know, I'm privileged to be able to chat to her every week at the moment, but yeah, definitely following Bev. Other from a marketing perspective, Seth Godin, but then business generally, you know, the Richard Branson, I love the you know, when you input your employees first, and you look after your employees, they'll take care of your customers. And Marc Benioff is like that as well. I've mentioned Simon Sinek. local leaders, Naomi Simpson. So yeah, there's some of this some of the people that I follow and really relate to.
Shahin Hoda Got it. Okay, last one, sorry. Third question is no, this is the last one. Alright. what's something that excites you about B2B today?
Stephanie McCredie I think it goes back to everything I've just mentioned. Personalisation excites me but being able to personalise that scale, having the technology, having the data, and insights serving us up, the ability to personalise that scale is what will excite me. So that account-based marketing won't just be something new, it will actually be expected that it's not, you know, a nice to have, it's a must have, and that we've got personalisation at scale being able to happen, so that it's not as resource intensive sometimes, but it's even more targeted and active and more efficient.
Shahin Hoda Got it. Well, on that note, Stephanie, this has been an awesome conversation. I really love that. Thank you so much for coming on the show. And I'm pretty sure a lot of our listeners are gonna get a lot out of this. Thank you so much for your time.
Stephanie McCredie Thank you so much. It's great to be here. Thanks for having me.
Shahin Hoda Absolute pleasure.