“Often, I’ll start this process with a reverse funnel and build upstream. This helps map out a plan for deploying time and campaign dollars effectively. Then your team knows if it is making progress against the goal. It’s not easy for all businesses to do this, for varying reasons, but it’s a good starting point.”
Jeff, can you tell us about your professional background and your current role at Bombora.
As the Chief Marketing Officer at Bombora, I lead the marketing, SDR, and revenue operations teams. In fact, prior to becoming Bombora’s CMO, I was a Bombora customer twice, and then also served as a fractional CMO where I implemented Bombora across several more companies. This gave me a first-hand look at what the company’s products can do.
Over 15 years, I’ve worked for companies like Icertis, TTEC and Microsoft, driving growth, innovation, and alignment across sales and marketing teams. I am passionate about challenging the status quo, staying on the leading-edge, and creating solutions that fill the funnel, accelerate pipeline, and increase win-rates. I partner with CEOs and CMOs to overhaul and enhance their business strategy, go-to-market strategy, and turn their teams into intelligent growth engines that care about the full funnel. I also teach advanced digital marketing and demand generation courses to students looking to set themselves apart in the industry. My goal is to create and run the most sales-centric marketing team in the world.
What does Bombora do, and how does it differentiate itself from other companies in the same space?
Bombora is the leading provider of B2B Intent data solutions. We are a pure-play data company that helps B2B marketers leverage intent data to identify and engage their ideal customers at the right time, maximizing return on investment and time.
Our core product, Company Surge® data, tells marketing and sales leaders about which businesses are researching the products or services that they and their competitors sell. With this understanding, sales and marketing teams can be more relevant and consistent and improve performance across all activities.
What really sets Bombora apart is that our insights combine our B2B data cooperative, our longitudinal view of research, and view into when businesses make a statistically significant change in behavior. The coop is made up of more than 5,000 member B2B publishers, giving Bombora the only high-quality, scalable, first-party sourced and consented data solution on the market. Armed with insights from those publishers, we can look at activity over a long period of time. This allows us to establish baselines for research activity on the company level, gaining a sense of what’s normal and what indicates any measurable uptick. The ability to measure spikes in research and consumption behavior above a baseline are what signal true intent.
Can you elaborate on the types of solutions you’ve created to fill the funnel, accelerate pipeline, and increase win-rates for your clients or your own company?
As a data company, our goal is to make our insights available within the platforms and tools that marketing and sales teams use on a daily basis.
One of our latest launches was in collaboration with The Trade Desk and Chalice AI on a new product called Intelligent Account-based Marketing, or iABM. The goal is simple: Make it easier for B2B advertisers to reach their target accounts using programmatic ad buying tools. iABM helps marketers guarantee target account impression through advanced bidding solutions. B2B advertisers now have control of their campaign delivery to meet their exact performance needs and can optimize based on granular reporting that highlights domain impression.
What is the significance of prioritizing target accounts in sales, and how does Bombora assist with this? Also, can you explain how Bombora identifies the topics that are of most interest to target accounts?
Account prioritization is critical right now, because a lot of businesses are feeling the headwinds of economic uncertainty. As a result, many have had to revise forecasts and are now working with smaller budgets across marketing and sales. These budgets need to be stretched as far as possible.
Account prioritization allows B2B organizations to focus the bulk of their sales strategy on the accounts that are actively in-market for a product or service, and as a result are the most likely to convert. So a business can look across its total addressable market, use intent data to score the accounts that are the most active in researching a certain topic or tool, and then put the majority of efforts toward those accounts.
General branding campaigns can still be aimed at all of the accounts in the market, but there’s no reason for sales people to cold-call accounts that aren’t going to make a purchase. Instead, they should focus their efforts on those most likely to convert.
How does Bombora’s granular data about visitors’ profile, interests, and purchase intent help publishers secure valuable advertising dollars?
Bombora’s data is sourced from our industry-leading co-op of B2B publishers. This is the data that fuels all of our intent insights. Publishers, armed with this data, have a great sense of who is actively visiting their pages and conducting research. They can then package these audiences and sell them directly to B2B advertisers who may be pursuing these audiences as part of an ABM strategy.
How can B2B sales and marketing teams effectively align their strategies with the insights derived from intent data to improve conversion rates and ROI?
It all comes back to prioritization. Marketing and sales teams have year-end numbers they’re supposed to hit, but they have finite budgets. The goal of every CMO and CRO is to allocate the budget so that they hit their numbers. If you had insight into which potential customers were the most likely to convert, as well as which existing customers may be primed for an upsell, that would allow you to better allocate the budget so as to maximize the revenue at the end of the year.
Intent data, by its name, is a measure of intent. Marketing and sales teams that can measure or predict their prospects’ intent can use that insight to optimize their efforts, eliminating any wasted spend.
What advice would you give to other Marketing leaders which helped you personally?
The biggest piece of advice I can offer is to keep things simple. Understand the basics of marketing and return to those. What is the job to be done? You really need to understand what the business needs to be successful and how your marketing team can have an impact.
Often, I’ll start this process with a reverse funnel and build upstream. This helps map out a plan for deploying time and campaign dollars effectively. Then your team knows if it is making progress against the goal. It’s not easy for all businesses to do this, for varying reasons, but it’s a good starting point.
Coming back to the idea of keeping things simple, it’s a lot easier said than done. Try to distill things down and understand the dynamics of your organization. A big thing I say to my team is “let’s understand the why.” We ultimately need to understand what every department is trying to accomplish, and then have a conversation about the best way to solve things.
Another big piece that I find marketing leaders often struggle with is truly prioritizing and creating feedback loops across departments. Make sure you’re not creating a wall between sales and marketing, but having open transparent conversations. If the leads aren’t good, why aren’t they good? What do we need to change about that?
Finally, embrace the AI tools that are out there. They don’t need to be scary, but it can feel weird to get started using them. Make time to actually educate yourself on these tools. If you fail to get acclimated to the tools, there’s a good chance you will not find any value.
What is the biggest problem you or your team solving this year?
Like many of our clients – and all B2B companies, really – we are trying to accomplish more with less. We’re also trying to find the right focus for our business. I wouldn’t say we’ve gone about solving these issues perfectly by any stretch, but we’re exploring a few ways to go about it.
Number one, we’re trying to see where new AI tools can be more efficient and help with tasks like ideation. The other big thing is making sure that we are customer number one for our own products and services. By being our own best client, we can reflect that out to the market and to our product team throughout the year.
As we enter Q4, we’re trying to develop clear plans for 2024 that will enable us to hit the ground running. All too often, companies can miss Q1 simply because planning wasn’t done.
Is there anything that you’re currently reading, or any favorite books, that you’d Recommend?
There are several books that I’ve been pulling out recently. Some are new to me, some are old favorites. One is April Dunford’s “Obviously Awesome.” It gets back to the basics of how you can really think about your product positioning and bringing that voice to the customer. She has great templates, and it’s an easy quick read. I’m very excited she has a new book coming out on building effective sales pitches.
Another I refer to regularly is “Upstream” by Dan Heath. What I love about it is that it focuses on not necessarily the problem at hand, but what’s occurring further upstream that’s creating the problem. The metaphor is that you and a friend are standing next to a river and you see some people coming down the river and they need help. So you hop in the river and start pulling them out, but they just keep coming. You get exhausted. But your friend gets out and starts walking upstream and says “I’m going to stop whatever’s throwing these people in the river.” That’s upstream thinking. I find that most business problems often have an upstream factor worth digging into.
The last one is “Extreme Ownership” by Jocko Willink, which I recently finished. If you don’t like war stories, this is probably not for you. It has some really good components around how leaders should think about empowering their team, clearly communicating the message and the “why” of the mission in front of them.
As the Chief Marketing Officer at Bombora, Jeff leads the marketing and revenue operations for a data-driven company that helps B2B marketers leverage intent data to identify and engage their ideal customers at the right time, maximizing return on investment and time. With over 15 years of experience in marketing strategy, product marketing, demand generation, and customer experience, Jeff have a proven track record of driving growth, innovation, and alignment across sales and marketing teams.
Bombora is the leading provider of Intent data for B2B sales and marketing. Bombora‘s data aligns marketing and sales teams, enabling them to base their actions on the knowledge of which businesses are actively researching what products, and the intensity of that research. Using this information, marketers can drive more qualified demand through the funnel, while sales teams can better prioritize accounts and have higher quality conversations.