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The 2014 CRM Rising Stars

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Demandbase: Advertising for B2B Marketers

The convergence of marketing with advertising technologies and advertising has been the talking point of 2014, and Demandbase is right at the center. With its technology, Demandbase connects the advertising it serves to a company with the sales activity that results, a full-funnel view that brings both components together. "The marketing technology focus is moving from managing the marketing funnel to the exploration and discovery stages of the buyer's journey," explains Laura Ramos, Forrester vice president and principal analyst, "and to be able to engage with and identify buyers earlier in their decision-making process."

Using an amped-up version of reverse IP lookup, marketers can choose specific companies or industries to target through advertising. They can personalize their content according to the company they want to reach, creating advertising copy and customized Web sites that speak directly to their industry. In an age where B2B buyers do more research than ever before reaching out to sales, such customization can make a difference.

Demandbase is bringing these capabilities together with its new B2B marketing cloud, which enables marketers to see their advertising investments in terms they care about, such as missed opportunities and cost per sales lead. "This is the first marketing cloud designed specifically for B2B," Demandbase CEO Chris Golec says. He also touts the "sales-marketing alignment" that results from using the technology. By only targeting the right companies, lead quality is naturally higher.

"[Demandbase is] in an exciting position," Ramos notes. "A lot of B2B marketers are just starting to realize that their campaigns, targeting, and email lists are not as efficient and working as well as they should be. They're now [asking] 'How do I better segment, target, and analyze and understand if I am connecting with the right people?'" Demandbase is one solution to that problem, and customers are responding.

When it was founded in 2006, Demandbase was solely optimizing Web sites for B2B companies. At the end of 2012, it created company-targeting advertising, which enables marketers to reach potential leads before they even visit the Web site. It even offers those ads on behalf of marketers, using its own real-time bidding engine optimized for B2B advertising. It now delivers 10 billion ads daily, and manages 1 billion Web interactions, or page views of Web sites, a month. Recurring revenue has grown 94 percent year over year. The company counts Salesforce.com, Adobe, and Oracle, which all have their own marketing clouds—among their customers, perhaps the most telling endorsement of all.

Savo: Unleashing the Sales Salvo

Savo Group, a Chicago-based provider of sales enablement and productivity solutions, has gained a lot of momentum in recent months, fueled by product launches and partnerships that have led to a 30 percent increase in new client engagements and revenue.

This year, Savo launched Savo Inspire, a digital postcard application that leverages technology gained with its 2013 acquisition of StoryQuest. Savo Inspire enables marketing and sales executives to create highly personal interactive multimedia communications using their own voice, face, and personality. Products such as this average six times more opens than basic email, the company says.

Other recent product launches by the company, which was founded in 1999, include the following:

  • Sales Onboarding Pro, a training, coaching, content, messaging, and expert connections app to facilitate the learning curve for new hires;
  • CRM Opportunity Pro, which integrates with major CRM systems to help companies align reps with prospects at appropriate stages in the buying cycle;
  • Sales Content Pro, which leverages a central repository to arm sales reps with relevant content, experts, and coaching;
  • Mobile Sales Pro, an application designed to increase sales team effectiveness with enhanced PowerPoint, video, and whiteboarding capabilities;
  • RFP and Proposal Pro, an automation function that manages and tracks Q&As to ensure consistency and accuracy across multiple proposal requests, while giving sales teams access to advanced data management, reuse, and guided customization capabilities; and
  • Sales Process Pro, an end-to-end sales productivity platform for training, reinforcement, ramping, automated proposal creation, data management, and more.

"We've made significant updates and enhancements to our product suite, and it has paid off," says Kurt Andersen, executive vice president of sales enablement and marketing at Savo. "We now have an even stronger variety of solutions that alleviate ineffectiveness among sales teams."

"As we move into 2014," said Mark O'Connell, president and CEO of Savo, in a statement earlier this year, "we aim to continue building an even more expansive product portfolio that will help our customers jump-start their path to smarter selling and optimize sales productivity within their organizations."

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