Demandbase announces Demandbase One - but is it a complete ABM solution?

Profile picture for user barb.mosher By Barb Mosher Zinck November 12, 2020
Summary:
Demandbase just made a major ABM announcement, which stems from their Engagio acquisition. But is this truly a complete ABM solution? And how do we get over the sticking points of ABM adoption? Barb weighs in on her talks with Demandbase leadership, and a product demo.

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Five months ago, Demandbase acquired Engagio, and the plan to create the next generation account-based marketing solution went into play. This week, that new solution was announced, and Demandbase One is now generally available for all.

When Jon Miller, CEO of Engagio, decided to join forces with Demandbase, he knew what he wanted to achieve. So did Demandbase CEO Gabe Rogol. Together, the two companies had a clear vision of a solution that works for Sales and Marketing, "one technology, one view of the data, one way to understand and measure impact and performance."

In a conversation with Miller and Rogol on the announcement of Demandbase One, Rogol said that there was no complete B2B platform. He said that the customer journey is complex, with more of it moving to a digital environment. However, most of the technology used today was designed around a simpler and different time. 

ABM technology has been available for a while now, but the market is fragmented. It's confusing for many marketing and sales professionals to understand exactly what they need and what ABM solutions provide those capabilities. 

Demandbase One, Miller said, is the combination of an ABM top-of-the-funnel solution with a first-party sales solution covering middle-to-bottom of the funnel. Essentially, it's the Engagio interface, including predictive analytics, sales intelligence, audiences, and measurement (the core platform) with key Demandbase solutions for advertising, website personalization, orchestration, and attribution plugged in. Miller said that the interface has also been polished by upgrading to the latest version of React, which gives it a visual and speed upgrade. The solution integrates with marketing automation, sales enablement, and CRM systems to provide an integrated view of all account activity.

Support for sales and marketing

During a demo of the new solution, Miller shared four key use cases. The first is building the ABM foundation. Once that's in place, you can find and prioritize target accounts. Then you engage with those accounts through various activities like advertising, personalized web experiences, and sales and marketing campaigns. Finally, you close and expand by aligning with Sales. 

The demo itself was good. The interface was clean and easy to follow, the integrations were seamless, and it seemed very easy to understand and use. Miller showed how you could look at the overall "deal story" of an account - a visualization of all the marketing and sales touches that moved the account along the purchase journey. He also showed how you could build account lists from all types of data, including ICP, intent, engagement, and more. 

You can then look at the accounts' journey in that list to see what stages they are in and quickly select accounts in each stage to take action against, such as advertising, or adding them to a marketing campaign or a sales process. The machine learning capabilities ensure that people are in the right ad campaigns based on their intent/activity, which Miller said would improve spending efficiency. We also saw how you could configure unique web page experiences for segments or lists.

One question I had related to setup time. The solution looked easy to use, but how much effort went on behind the scenes to get it set up to support a company's business strategy? Miller said that they designed Demandbase One to work out of the box as much as possible. There is an out-of-the-box journey that customers can customize and many modules that you can get up and running quickly. He said the idea is to get quick value, expand and add/adjust as you move forward, and evolve your use over time. 

Demandbase One is aimed at mid-to-large enterprises. Miller said this solution delivers all the benefits of ABM at a lower price point. He also noted that the floor would continue to move down as ABM technology scales to support more opportunities deeper down the layer. 

My take - the ABM adoption struggle continues

Account-based marketing remains a struggle for many companies. One reason is that there is no succinct definition of ABM that every vendor or consultant subscribes to, making it challenging for most to understand how to do it and what ABM technology is needed. 

A recent Rollworks survey found that only 19% of respondents have heard of a single ABM definition. Ninety percent said this lack of clarity had hurt the ABM tech selection process in some way (34% said it prevented them from adopting an ABM solution; 22% said it stopped them from considering ABM for their business altogether). 

There is more than one ABM technology; vendors continue to build solutions that support pieces of an ABM strategy. Most of the technology seems to focus on pulling together all the data that helps understand intent. And that intent data does not come cheap. 

The bigger challenge - how to understand that data, take action on it, and then have the result of those actions reflected back into the system is where things get murky.

Demandbase is one ABM tech provider bridging that gap, fusing intent with engagement data through a single ABM solution supporting sales and marketing. As more ABM technology evolves in this way, we will get clarity on how to build ABM strategies. Because although ABM is a strategy, not a technology, the right ABM technology is critical to do modern ABM well.