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Demandbase continues to expand beyond ABM with additional services and features

Barb Mosher Zinck Profile picture for user barb.mosher March 3, 2023
Summary:
Taking a long look at Account Intelligence

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You probably think of Demandbase as an Account-Based Marketing/Account-Based Experience (ABM/X) platform, but in the last couple of years, the company has evolved its offering beyond pure ABM. A conversation with Jon Miller, CMO at Demandbase, helped explain the changes and what’s still to come, as he told me" 

It’s all about hitting your revenue goals with fewer resources.

In Miller’s discussions with CMOs and CROs, he said there’s a general feeling that things are hard, that the playbook – the sales-led one - companies have used for the last fifteen years is not working. Miller said other playbooks are out there, like product-led growth, but most companies still follow a traditional sales-led GTM (go-to-market) motion. 

The question becomes, if the old ways aren’t working, what will? And that’s where Miller said Demandbase’s “smarter GTM” comes into play:

People can’t work any harder, so they need to work smarter.

The value of account intelligence

Demandbase no longer calls itself an ABM platform; now, it’s smarter GTM. However, it’s not the only ABM platform that has evolved its messaging as companies learn to serve their customers through multiple go-to-market motions. For example, 6sense is now a RevenueAI platform, Terminus calls itself a “revenue engine,” and Clearbit is a go-to-market platform. 

This is the recognition that account-based marketing is only one of many ways a company can go to market. But it’s also the recognition that these platforms have developed customer data foundations that can benefit more than a pure ABM play. 

Demandbase’s Account Intelligence offering is a combination of two datasets. First, similar to a Customer Data Platform (although Demandbase does not call it that), Demandbase helps centralize customer data from across systems, combining, cleaning, and organizing it. Second, Demandbase has third-party data, including technographic, firmographic, contact info, and intent data.

Account Intelligence fuels Demandbase One (which supports both ABM and sales-led GTM), but it’s also offered separately to enterprises only looking for the data to fuel their own systems. And that puts Demandbase in competition with companies like Zoominfo, Bombora, and Clearbit.

Mining the data for insights

Demandbase launched D2 Labs in June last year to help companies get more from their data. Miller said it’s a team of data scientists, data analysts, and engineers that are very good at leveraging account intelligence and a customer’s dataset to find actionable insights for the customer. 

The team can also generate new datasets that Demandbase can package and sell to other companies. One example is the Lab released renewal date data indicating when a contact might renew a product/software subscription. 

Then there’s the free Account Identification Service that any company can set up to help them find the accounts visiting their website. It’s a freemium model, Miller explained, maxing out at 25,000 contacts per month. Useful for smaller organizations and a great way for larger enterprises to try it out. 

There’s another reason for this free service. Using it requires putting a Demandbase tag on the company’s website, which gives Demandbase more data to deanonymize other accounts, improving accuracy and match rates for all their customers.

The roadmap for Demandbase

Whether it’s a GTM or revenue generation platform isn’t a significant issue. Miller believes they may become one and the same over time, and one term may win out over the other. 

Demandbase has staked its bet on Smarter GTM because it supports multiple ways to go to market. And the $175 million in financing from Vista Credit Partners, a subsidiary of Vista Equity Partners, will help it continue to evolve in this direction.

In terms of roadmap, Miller said there are two major areas the company is working on. 

The first is supporting “buying groups.” We’ve had this evolution from lead to account, but there is no software today that directly supports buying groups within an account. Miller said there are often multiple groups in a large company in the purchase process, but there’s no way to track individual groups, group members, or decisions. Miller said this requires a new object to be built into the platform, which is not an easy task. Not only does supporting buying groups help manage the process for multiple groups, but it will also cross-sell and expand.

The other main focus for Demandbase is support for batch email and other new channels. Miller said Demandbase already does 80% of what most Marketing Automation (MA) systems do (and he would know because he was a co-founder of Marketo). But there are features like forms, batch email, and the concept of programs/campaigns that it doesn’t do. So Demandbase is working towards a place where it is an alternative to marketing automation. 

Note he’s not calling it a replacement, but rather an alternative. Miller pointed out that 80% of companies typically only use about 20% of an MA platform. It’s those companies Demandbase is targeting. And it means that Demandbase will develop a new GTM motion: lead generation. 

This merging of marketing automation and ABM is not unique to Demandbase. Forrester says this convergence is coming, creating a new “B2B marketing revenue platform.” The research firm even says it will combine MA and ABM waves into a single wave. 

Demandbase is prime to take advantage of this convergence because of its account intelligence. Miller said they have all the contact and first-party engagement data. In addition, they connect to calendar and mail servers, so they know who’s invited to meetings, copied on emails, visiting the website, and what they are looking at. Bringing all that intelligence together enables them to map out buying groups and help companies build the process around the entire group. 

My take

The continuing growth of marketing technology alternatives is enough to make any marketing executive’s head spin, and that will not change. But there are also these convergences happening that support multiple go-to-market motions. 

I expect we’ll see these convergences continue as it becomes clear that companies need to see their customers and prospects as a whole (360-degree view) across different engagement methods. The martech stack doesn’t have to be complex; sometimes, having a small stack makes perfect sense. 

It all comes down to creating consistent, seamless experiences regardless of how a customer finds you (or you find them). 

PS. I asked Miller how Demandbase TV (DBTV) was performing, and the timing was good because they had just received new data. In the 18 months before launching, Demandbase had 340,000 minutes of video watched on their site. In the 18 months since DBTV, that number has jumped to 10.9 million minutes. For all marketers, this is a clear sign that video has become a significant way that people want to learn. Of course, text-based content won’t go away, but you may be losing out if you aren’t implementing a video strategy. 

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