Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - Well, today I'm joined by Katrine Rasmussen, who's the CMO of Pixelz. Katrine, thanks so much for joining us today.
Katrine Rasmussen (Pixelz) - Well, thank you very much for having me.
Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - Well, look, we're going to talk about some very interesting things. We're going to talk about Account-based Marketing. We're going to talk about marketing in general, and we're going to talk about fashion, which is going to be really interesting as well from that angle 'cause I think, I don't think I've had anybody involved in fashion previously on the show.
So, let's start off with a number, because we were chatting previously, and you shared a lot of stats with me. And you mentioned that Pixelz retouches 40 to 50 thousand images per day! And obviously, I had no idea about this, this world that you live in - that Pixelz operates in. Tell us a little bit more about Pixelz and what do you mean by 'retouching'?
Katrine Rasmussen (Pixelz) - Sure, so I'm sure most of your listeners have probably done their fair share of online shopping, right? And pretty much any E-Comm fashion website that you go to, all the E-Comm images that you see there are edited or retouched in some way or other. It doesn't have to be concerned with making the model thinner or skinnier; it's really not necessarily about that. Most of the time we don't do that at all. It could be very simple things such as cropping, removing a background, dust removal, and maybe we'll remove it to two or more and stuff like that.
So, it's basically just any E-Comm image that you see on a shopping website has been retouched in some way. And we do that, we built an engine AI-powered retouching or image-editing engine that will retouch and edit E-Comm images at scale.
So we do that for a number of large fashion retailers. Some of the ones that I can mention are Zalando, is one of our, obviously, very large customers here in the EU. We work with Mango, we work with the Bestseller Group. So, there is an enormous amount of photos that are coming through every single day, need to be retouched, and obviously, the sooner these retailers can get their images online, the sooner they are able to sell their products. And that's where we really excel - time-to-market, time-to-online.
For some of these clients, they'll send us their images and we'll get them online in just an hour. So, that's insanely important, right? And I think our secret sauce, if you compare it to a lot of the tools that do just, AI-based retouching where everything is automated, for us, it's a hybrid approach. Our clients - 'cause it's fashion, it's clothing - it's a bit more complicated.
Usually, just any 100% AI, 100% automated - it's not going to work; we still do need that human touch. So our secret sauce is really the hybrid approach where about 75% of the work that we do on average, all the images are done by AI and automations, and the remaining 25 are done by actual human photo editors for that last human or creative touch. Yeah, so that's what we do - work with all, or many of the larger fashion retailers and brands in Europe and in the US, and we take care of their images.
Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - Well, I think that's kind of opened a little bit the, a view on the world of retouching. As I said, I had no idea that this went on! And, you know, we all do our online shopping and we all, you know, scroll through, you know, pages and pages looking for whatever we're looking for. So it's really interesting to know that behind those large fashion houses is a company like your own that's trying to standardize everything, make everything, you know, look exactly how each brand wants it to look.
So, you mentioned a few brands there because obviously, I know you've got an awful of clients, very, very well-known clients, but obviously, you can't mention them all. But you mentioned a couple there - Zalando and Mango, for example. But these are huge companies, and what does it take to win a client like that?
I mean, talk us a little bit about how you go about, you know, talking to those kind of customers or potential customers, and how you kind of get into those accounts, and get - and make them a customer, basically.
Katrine Rasmussen (Pixelz) - Right! Ah, so where do we start? And what does it take? Well, I think first of all, and I think anyone who works with B2B, large-enterprise deals, right? I think first of all what it takes is some patience. It's usually large, complex deals, large, complex sales cycles. So, it's not something that's done overnight.
So, we work... well, I think first of all, we have a list of target accounts, talking ABM here, right? We know exactly which companies out there that will be a very good fit with what we do. So we have a very good grasp on that. So, we know exactly which ones we are going after, which ones is going to be a really good fit. And then, at least from an internal perspective, the Marketing team, we work very, very closely with the Sales team to really be aligned on who we're going after, how we're doing it, what are the pain points, how can we best support the Sales team to move these deals forward.
And I really do think from the Marketing perspective, that is one of our most important roles, is to enable, facilitate for the Sales team to move these deals and relationships forward. To get some face time, to get in front of them. Because we have found, and this is, now we are like back to pretty old-school, just B2B sales, right? Enterprise sales. That relationships, face time, getting to know these people, our ICPs, it's definitely one of the most important things when it comes to closing these large deals. So, from a Marketing perspective, that's what we try to enable and facilitate.
Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - Well, I think we'll touch on that issue around relationships, which I think is a common theme for you. And also, you know, what sets ABM apart, perhaps some of the Marketing strategies is building those kind of very deep relationships. So I think, I'm sure going to come back to that.
But you mentioned there about, you know, large accounts that, you know, your target accounts are very large. I think when you, when we were talking previously, we talked about that kind of concept, you know, the kind of big whales; these very, very large companies that exist in your world. And you've decided that that is going to be your ICP rather than going after smaller companies.
From a Marketing perspective, you know, when you're trying to, you know, as you mentioned, these kind of companies, and I'll just rattle some names off that I might know, I don't know, like a Marks & Spencer's in the UK or John Lewis in the UK, or maybe, you know, I don't know, a Foot Locker in the US or it's one of the major retailers in the US of which there are many.
When you're looking at those from a marketing point of view, what does it, how do you think about those from an ICP point of view? And what perhaps is the thinking behind why you want to go after those very large whales rather than perhaps trying to make quicker sales with smaller companies?
Katrine Rasmussen (Pixelz) - Right, and that's a great question. And I think that's basically where everything starts, right? And that's not necessarily, or that's definitely not just like a Marketing decision. This is all very much grounded in business decisions, business strategy.
I've been with Pixelz for a little over three years now, and I think one of the first things we did when I first started, we sat down, did some in-depth strategy sessions. And when I say we, not talking about the Marketing team or even the Sales team, it was the Executive team, right? Everyone, our CEO, COO, CFO, C-level, we sat down and I think the first thing, the very first thing we did was basically just to take a look at the data, right? Because Pixelz is not, we're not a startup. We've got, I think we're coming up on 14 years soon. So we had a lot of data and we had a lot of clients already.
But what we did was basically we sat down, we looked at all that data, and we realized that - and I think this is probably pretty common actually - but we realized that about 60% of our revenue came from just 1% of our clients, right? So that we at, currently, we have about 2,000 clients. And so, it means that 60% of our revenue comes from the top 20 clients. And so just looking at that data, it was, it became very clear to us that if we move, want to move this business forward, if we want to grow it, I mean, it's not, it's really not a volume game. It's not, let's not build, like, a big self-serve volume-based business, because it's not what's really going to move us forward, because these are not our best-fit clients. The best-fit clients are that top 1%; they're the ones that don't churn. They're the ones that are really, really happy. And they're also the ones that are bringing in the majority of our revenue.
And I think that's where you got to start, right? Who are your best customers? So based on that realization, I think that's when we were like, "All right, let's go all in on landing those big whales!" And I think it is a difficult decision to make because it gets very binary, right? Like the volume game, it's easier because you'll just land a bunch of like smaller, mid-sized clients and you have a pretty good understanding of what percentage's going to convert into business here. It's like you might go after a few clients, and a lot of this is going to be out of your control, right? Are you going to be able to close them or not? And, essentially, for us, sometimes, I mean, landing a few clients every quarter is going to make or break our budgets, right? So it becomes very binary. And it's also, so in that sense, it's a bit more risky than just like the volume game. But we could see with our product, with our services, that's really what made sense for our business. So that's how that decision was made.
So next thing, and I think that's very important, right? You've really got to nail your ICP, and when I say that, I want to make it very, very concrete, right? It's like for us, one of the most important things is that the companies that, the brands and retailers that we work with, they've got to have a photo studio and they've got to churn more than 25,000 images out per year. So it's like, it's the large retailers who have that amount of images. Anything smaller than that, hmm! We might take it, but they're not the ones that we're going after, because it just doesn't make sense for our business model.
So, and then we also knew with the AIs that we've built, and the AIs that we've been training for the last, I guess at this point, 10, 11 years, were really trained on fashion, clothing, accessories. And so we knew that's where we do our best work. So that's how, that's basically how we nailed our ICP and also just looking at existing clients, right?
And then from there, next thing we did was to really, we did a positioning workshop. We worked with April Dunford, obviously, awesome. We went through the brand script, the Donald Miller brand script. We did all of that, so we nailed the positioning, we nailed the messaging, and we tried to make it a lot narrower than it's been before, because I think if you're trying to be everything to everyone, right? All of a sudden you're nothing to nobody.
So, really going all in on like the fashion aspect, the volume aspect, all of those things helped us make sure that our messaging was on point, that our positioning is on point, and then, of course, we interviewed a lot of these large clients to really try to understand their pain points. Who is the ICP? Who is the decision maker? And all of these things.
So I think that's before you go all in on ABM, just go after a few large clients. I think you really got to have that like a very, very solid foundation of your ICP, your positioning, who is the best fit. So that was the starting point.
And then, taking it from there, we're building those account lists, working very closely with Sales, and then just trying to figure out: How do we actually - from there - how do we get in front of them and how do we close these deals?
Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - And out of curiosity, but obviously, you've done an awful lot of work and a lot of research, and I think you, it's fair to say that you know your ICP very well. How big do you think your universe is? If... what kind of percentage do you think you've got of that universe, and is there plenty more?
Katrine Rasmussen (Pixelz) - Right.
Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - Is there plenty more fish... are there plenty more whales in the sea?
Katrine Rasmussen (Pixelz) - Yes, there is definitely a lot of whales in the sea. And even, well, I think the estimate we did a few years back was that at this point we, probably, maybe have about 5% of the market share.
But we are, and the beautiful thing is that we are the market leader. There's no-one out there that is, that has a larger percentage than what we do. But there are still a ton of E-Comm web shops out there. Also, very, very large ones that probably have never heard about Pixelz, so.
Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - Yeah, and also equally as it's such a growing, I mean E-Commerce is such a growing, ever-changing, evolving market, new players...
Katrine Rasmussen (Pixelz) - Yes, and another - exactly - and another beautiful thing is that what we're seeing in the market right now, and you, I mean, if you shop online, you'll have seen this as well, like a lot of our larger customers, when you go to the product detail pages, right? Video is coming, elevated images are coming, they just keep expanding on the content, on the product detail pages. So you'll get a much, much better understanding of the product that you're buying. So, obviously, hopefully, conversion rates are going to be higher, but maybe even more importantly, return rates will be much lower.
So, a lot of our clients, they just keep expanding on the amount of images, amount of videos, the user-generated content that go up on the product detail pages. So, we also, obviously, focus a lot on upsell, cross-sell, all of that.
Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - And also you mentioned there, Katrine, about - at the beginning, you mentioned - about artificial intelligence. I think I was reading the day that a lot of these retailers now are bringing artificial intelligence into allowing people to try on the clothes, virtually. I haven't seen how they do it yet, but that's, I mean, I'm not a great online retail shopper, so - I try to not shop, full stop!
But that obviously, allowing people to kind of experience virtually, the clothes, as you mentioned, will dramatically, hopefully, reduce the returns rate as well, which I know is a big worry for these retailers, right?
Katrine Rasmussen (Pixelz) - Yes, that's the idea.
Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - Good, okay, let's move on to something that fascinated me. And I think this is how I came across you originally. Because obviously, different guests come, you know, I find some people come to me, some people recommend guests, but I think I came across you because of all the work that you and your team and your company are doing around FLOW, I think it's called.
Katrine Rasmussen (Pixelz) - Yes, yes.
Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - And that really caught my eye and it's, and suddenly, you know, my feed on LinkedIn was invaded by everything about FLOW and your pictures from New York, and God knows wherever else you guys have been over the last 12 months!
And I think you might have been in London recently as well, but let's talk about that because that's a big part of what you do. It's part of your ABM strategy, is kind of, I think you called it, did you call it 'experience marketing'? Or, you know, taking event marketing a bit further to experience?
Katrine Rasmussen (Pixelz) - Yes.
Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - So tell us a bit more about experience marketing and we'll dig a bit more into FLOW and you can share with everyone what that is.
Katrine Rasmussen (Pixelz) - Yeah, so FLOW, as we call it, is our event series. So, this year coming to an end now, we started out in L.A. in February, then we went to Berlin in June, then New York in September, and just three weeks ago, we took FLOW to London.
So - just taking a step back - it comes back to that thing I mentioned before about more traditional B2B enterprise sales, where like face-time relationships probably still the most important things out there, right? You want to buy, when you're going to make a big decision that's going to impact not just your business, but it might also impact your career, right? Whether you have a job or not, it's usually like big deals, big decisions for the ICP. You, when you're going to make that decision, you're going to go with someone that you trust, right? Someone that you know and that you trust.
So what we've found is basically that really getting to know potential clients, it helps a lot. So, and if you work in Sales, you also know that calling someone up and trying to book a demo, book a meeting, or even just like trying to get someone to go out to lunch with you is not necessarily the easiest thing, right? I mean, because you're in Sales, it's probably in your title and it's probably very obvious to whoever you're calling, what your agenda is, right? You want to sell to them.
So, what we do, we want to give not just the Sales team, basically, all of Pixelz, the entire team, the opportunity to get to know and build relationships with, well... it's also clients - because, of course, we invite our existing clients to these events, but we also invite prospects, right?
I think it's important to have both, because I mean, who's the better salesman of your product, right? That's obviously that your happy customers. So, they're there as well.
But we'll put together these four flagship events - this year we had four flagship events - and what we do is, basically, we look at where is the largest concentration of target accounts based. LA is an obvious one. Fashion. So is New York. Here, Europe, London, Berlin - very good places to do that.
And then we'll have between 100 and 150 attendees all coming from our target accounts, existing clients, they're all working in the photo studio. They might be the photo studio Director, might be a photographer there, some part of that decision-making process in the studio. We invite them to... there's going to be like a welcome party the night before. It's very informal. Just a very informal event.
And then we have the full day, the day of sessions, speakers, networking, maybe a few breakout sessions where we really get to mingle and to know each other. And then, usually, we're going to have - no, always! We're always going to have happy hour, like a VIP dinner. And we are... we usually end up somewhere fun at five in the morning and just having had a lot of fun, right?
And I think one of the keys to this, especially for the target accounts that we really want to get in touch with and we want to get face time with, is that it's going to be the Marketing team, not the Sales team, but the Marketing team will reach out and invite some of these key decision-makers on as keynote speakers. We'll be like, "Oh, we've seen you've done amazing work at this company. Would you like to come and share what you've done here? You'll be, I mean, you're an expert in this field, would you, can we fly you out? Can we set you up in a nice hotel? Can we wine you and dine here for a couple of days? And can we introduce you to this world of, or this community of like-minded people?" So we'll do that.
We'll get... and we, of course, we are going to make sure it's some interesting sessions right, from interesting brands. And then on top of that, we'll work very closely with the Sales team and make sure that we invite attendees from existing clients, prospects, all from within the same industry.
So it's just a very fun day and it's like great content, like-minded people and just a very relaxed, fun atmosphere. And we get to like, we have like about 20 people from the Pixelz team there as well. They get to meet us, hang out with us in a fun, relaxed atmosphere where we are not trying to sell them anything. We're just trying to actually get to know them and facilitate.
We also act as facilitators and just making introductions between different brands and the different people. And we talk very, very little about Pixelz. It's not like we are going to have like a Pixelz demo up on stage. We don't, we'll talk about Pixelz in a more subtle way, you know?
Last thing we did in London was about AI and how we've been implementing AI tools into our workflow. So, of course, we want to make sure that when they leave, end of the day, that they know who we are, what we do. And recently, it's been very important to say that we work a lot with AI. So, and so that's what we do. And then usually, we'll get a ton of really, really good feedback, because these, the thing is, the thing about people working in a photo studio, they are a great group to market to.
I have to say I'm so happy that I'm not marketing to Marketers or to Salespeople, but these people in the photo studio, literally, sometimes they'll literally, be down in the basement. Nobody's really focusing on them. There's not a lot of great content; there's not a lot of conferences for them. So they'll come out and they'll just be so thankful that we're building this community and they'll have a great experience, a great great day. They'll think about Pixelz as something very positive. We'll have done tons of brand building, right?
And then of course, I mean, when Sales or someone is going to reach out after the event, I mean, of course, next day, we'll all sit down, we'll have a big spreadsheet where we'll put in all the intel we got from all the different conversations that we've had. We'll figure out what are the next steps.
And, of course, Sales is going to reach out and see who should we try to move forward with; what's the situation here? But we'll have built invaluable relationships, and we'll have had a lot of fun at the same time. And just building and facilitating this community also gives us a lot of joy.
So, yeah, and we do, and we share on LinkedIn. Everywhere on LinkedIn, it's a big part of this.
Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - No, I know like the -
Katrine Rasmussen (Pixelz) - Social selling, yeah!
And we get everyone involved and we try to get all the attendees, the speakers, and everyone to share on LinkedIn, so everyone can go and see how much fun we had!
Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - Well, like I said, Katrine, that's how I came across you through the whole kind of FLOW initiative, and obviously, the photos and I think what came across was a sense of, as you said, enjoyment of people coming together.
And it's interesting how you explained the, your approach to kind of experience marketing there. There's a couple of words that you kind of kept on repeating: One was 'community' and one was 'relationships'.
So I think that's a really huge part of any kind of Account-based Marketing, Account-based engagement program is it kind of making, building a community. And I think what's a little bit different about your approach, which I think is really interesting for the audience, is to think, "Well, okay, so we've got all these customers who've got an awful lot in common. And we've got all these other accounts that we'd like to potentially work with. We don't know them potentially as much as we'd like to know them, but how can we bring these two groups together so they can talk to each other?
And at the same time, we can facilitate a lot of conversation." So, you're facilitating conversations, you're building relationships and also, as you said, quite rightly, you're building a community.
So I suppose the question I've got about that then, thinking about community is... and FLOW is... do you see FLOW, - because obviously, you've invented it as a name, as an event - but do you see it potentially spinning off from Pixelz and being a separate brand? Or what, how, what do you see the future of FLOW?
Katrine Rasmussen (Pixelz) - Oh, that's a great question and it's something that we talk about all the time. It still lives on the Pixelz website and I guess sometimes it's like, "Oh, should we get its own domain and like really separate it a bit more?"
Well, I do think it has potential to evolve into something that is completely separate from Pixelz, but then the question becomes, "Is that in our best interest?" I don't know, so we'll see what the future holds.
I think next year, we already got our program down, we're evolving, next year, FLOW is going to evolve into, instead of like the one-day event we've been doing so far, it's going to evolve into two-day events, where we have partners coming up hosting workshops. So it's going to be even more hands-on.
And then we are going to try and hit a few more cities with what we'll call FLOW Locals, which are going to be just like half-day, afternoon / evening events. It's a bit more just focused on networking and community. And then, another spinoff of the FLOW events has been a Slack community that we've opened up. So, it's only open for past FLOW attendees and it's really a medium to be able to continue those conversations in between the FLOW events. So that has been a lot of fun as well.
And with the fashion world, with photographers, photo studio Directors, it's also a place where they'll share a lot of like new campaigns and talk about tech and new developments. So much is happening right now. And so, which is also why we, instead of calling this 'event marketing' really, it's all about experiences, right? And facilitating that community in between the events as well is also a big part of it.
But whether it's going to be its own business entity, its own domain, its own, just its own brand, one point, ... who knows? Maybe it will! You never know, watch this space.
Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - It is funny 'cause, Katrine, I was going to ask you actually about how you were facilitating the communication post event, but obviously, you've answered that by saying that you've got a Slack channel now, and I think I've seen some very successful Slack channels that work. Such as Pavilion in Sales and Marketing, and other types like that. So it's great to hear.
Oh, and then touching on the word 'relationships' which, when we talk about measuring Account-based Marketing, we often talk about the Three Rs methodology of, you know, reputation, relationships and revenue - and measuring relationships is a key metric in terms of how you're seeing the dial move on your ABM program. But how do you kind of build that trust? Because I'm guessing that trust-building is an important part of how you approach your client relationships.
How do you see trust in those relationships?
Katrine Rasmussen (Pixelz) - With, I'm sorry, with... ?
Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - With your existing, with your - no, with, more so with your existing customers, how do you, because obviously, you know, your technology, how you approach things, what makes you different, your secret sauce, et cetera.
Katrine Rasmussen (Pixelz) - Approach.
Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - Yeah, so how do you...
Katrine Rasmussen (Pixelz) - Okay!
Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - How do you kind of go about - how do you go about building that trust with your existing customers?
Katrine Rasmussen (Pixelz) - Well, FLOW is a big part of that as well, to be honest, because we do invite them out. Well, but I think probably the most important thing that we do, we like to think about ourselves as their partner, their post-production retouching partner, and not just another vendor, right?
And I think the most important thing that we do is that when we hire, and it doesn't matter whether that's in Sales or CS, whenever we hire somebody who is customer-facing, who will have a lot of contact with not, I mean prospects, but also existing clients, all our CSMs, we hire within the industry. At least, we do our very, very best to do - well, CSMs, it's all within the industry.
So we'll hire people who have experience either as a photographer from within, as a photo studio environment, so when not only do they know Pixelz well, but they know and understand the challenges and the pain points as our clients. And often, we find ourselves acting as a consultant, maybe talking to clients about lighting, about studio setups, studio design, all of these things that are not really what we do, but it's what our clients do, and they need a trusted advisor. So that's a big part of building that trust with existing clients but with new-prospect, new clients as well.
Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - Interesting, so I think one thing I was just thinking now while you were talking about FLOW and measurement and return on investments, all those kind of questions that, you know, you mentioned before about your CFO, your CEO, those kind of guys might, those kind of people might ask you these questions about, you know, what's the return?
How do you look, if you look at your events or your experience marketing as your investment, which has a cost to it, and perhaps you look at it against other types of marketing initiatives - how does the return on investment weigh up FLOW versus other methods?
Katrine Rasmussen (Pixelz) - Right, and it's a great question and it's a complicated one, right? Because it all comes down to attribution and how do you attribute.
And I think one of the challenges, or at least one of the things that you've got to know when you do event marketing is that, especially when you do your own events, right? The event is never going to be the first touchpoint when you look in - we use HubSpot, we use Dreamdata - it's not the first touchpoint. It's not the first click because they got that invitation from somewhere.
It's also, when you launch work deals this size, it's also never going to be the last touchpoint because, of course, that's going to be like, it's going to be like a million meetings after the FLOW events, maybe lunches, maybe phone calls, maybe webinars. There's going to be so many other touchpoints after an event.
So, I think it's important to have that understanding when you... it's not kind of compare a FLOW event to like a paid search campaign that might very well be the very first touchpoint. So just trying to understand how does an event, how does FLOW fit into that buying journey?
And realize that you've really got to measure this in different ways. So, what I do, I think we... I just did a board presentation recently, and what I do is I'll, okay, I'll list out our 25 top new clients this year, and I'll just say, "Okay, so out of these 25, how many came to a FLOW event?" And I think that was 13 or 14. So the majority of the largest clients we've closed this year, attended a FLOW event. So, I mean, of course, that's a great indicator, right? We also use Dreamdata, it's an attribution tool. You can go into each deal, each contact and you can see, "Okay, did they attend a FLOW event?" And you can do tons of different attribution, linear first touch, last touch, all of these things, and you'll basically see: How does the FLOW events fit into the buying journeys.
And then, and I think the beautiful thing about ABM, at least, when you don't try to scale it, when you do true One-to-one ABM, and you work large deals, it's like you don't need analytics to know whether a client closed, right?
Because when one of those whales closes, you will know! Because it's going to be all over Slack, it's going to be announced in on the town halls, it's going to be in the Marketing meetings, a Sales meeting, the executive meetings, right? Because those deals are large enough that we all know about them.
So, of course, I've got my spreadsheets, I've got my analytics tools, but, and sometimes I will go in and I was like, "Oh, did, did they come out to FLOW?" And it's like, yes or no. But when you work these kind of large deals, you will have a very - because you'll have talked about these deals for probably six to 12 months prior, right? You'll talk about them, you know whether they're closing or not. So it's not, it doesn't have to be that complicated.
Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - No, it's a very, very good point, Katrine. And I think my take on this and the take of a lot of other ABMers is that, ultimately, as you said, you're working on target accounts, so you know who you're going after. It's not kind of doing, you know, spray-and-pray marketing.
And equally, you're working very closely with your Sales team, your Customer Success team, even the C-suite. So you're all working together.
Katrine Rasmussen (Pixelz) - Yes.
Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - So ultimately, the real test is whether you are moving the dial as a team, as a company. And it's not so much the individual success of Marketing, but it's actually the company success. And I think that, for me, is one of the greatest changes when people start doing ABM properly.
Katrine Rasmussen (Pixelz) - Yes.
Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - Is that everyone, everyone comes together, and so there's no more... there's a lot less, "Oh, that was me!" or "I did that!" or "I made the phone call!" or, you know, or whatever.
Katrine Rasmussen (Pixelz) - Yeah, and -
Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - And I think that's, you know-
Katrine Rasmussen (Pixelz) - Yeah, and just when we talk about attribution, analytics and all of that, right? Like the reality when we work with target accounts is that they were all imported into HubSpot. I mean, that's their first touch. That's like sort of like just import, not going to have that inbound versus outbound fight, because we decided. We decided, well before we even talked to them, the very first time that they're going to be in our CM, our HubSpot, now we're going after them.
So what is like, what is this first? And there's going to be like probably seven to ten different contacts within that account that have been involved at some point, right? There's going to have been like a number of different channels and it's going to be a webinar, there's going to be an event, there's going to be a ton of like calls, meetings, website visits, pricing. Like there's just so much happening.
So, trying to claim, "What was the first touchpoint?" or "Who is it, inbound versus outbound?" It doesn't really make sense to us. What does make sense is that we have that common understanding of "What is the thing that moved the deal ahead?", "How can we work together?" and "How does all of this fit into the big picture?"
And I'm also very, very blessed with my, the Chief Sales Officer, Brian, he's very, very good at giving credit. And he's not, he's never the one who'll try to take credit. So I also think that's a blessing that we really work together very well.
Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - Well, having a CMO and a VP of Sales, having a great relationship is really important to me. I think it can make or break many, many, obviously, ABM campaigns.
Just two or three rapid-fire questions just to finish off with.
Obviously, you've been involved in ABM for some time now at Pixelz and prior to Pixelz. But what would you say in all your time is your greatest learning from your journey, from your ABM journey?
Katrine Rasmussen (Pixelz) - Mm, mm! I think probably one of the greatest learnings, but that's just working large-enterprise deals, right? Is patience - also just knowing that 95% of your target audience are probably not in market right now, but the moment they will be in market, you want to be absolutely sure that Pixelz is the first thing that pops into their mind.
So, that's a big learning. And then I think, and I think that's probably the standard answer, that Sales and Marketing alignment, right? If, because I think especially in the beginning when we tried some of this, it felt like the Sales team thought that we were just like trying to give them a lot of additional work. It's like: "Fill this out! What's their pain points? It's like this spreadsheet - you need to get all of this intel gathered and then we can start working!"
And I think one of the things that we found out, it was like the Sales team, they just want to sell! They don't want to like sit down and do like all this account research, and trying to make them do that, I think they felt like, "Why am I doing this? What's the purpose of this?" So I think, we are still, I'm still trying to make that very clear that we actually just really want to help you.
So changing some of that up and not necessarily having the Sales team do this, this work has helped a lot. And just making sure that we are all very aligned on the purpose and what we want to achieve.
Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - I think there's some very, very good lessons there, to be honest, and that the audience will definitely resonate with the audience in terms of that.
A couple of very, very quick questions just to finish off, and I think you mentioned one of them earlier, but obviously, ABM, Account-based Marketing - and people give it other names - has become very popular in the last, probably the last five years has become incredibly popular, although it's been around for 20 years in its current position. What would you say is probably one of the biggest misconceptions out there about Account-based Marketing at the moment?
Katrine Rasmussen (Pixelz) - Uh! I think the fact that, to me, sometimes it seems like people think that Account-based Marketing is just all about expensive ABM tools, and just like uploading all your target accounts, automating everything, relying on questionable intel from
- that you don't really know where it even comes from - and then just automating stuff based on that.
I don't think that's ABM. That's not true ABM. I'm not saying it's not working, it could work very, very, very well. I just don't think that's what ABM is all about. I think that's all about like really trying to understand one client, one prospect and see how can we work with their pain points? What can we do to really get in touch with them and get in front of them?
So, like if the first thing you do when you do want to do ABM is to go out and buy like big expensive, very expensive ABM platform, then I think you are not, then I don't think you'll succeed. At least it's not necessary. We don't have any ABM platforms, we just work with HubSpot and tools that we already have.
Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - That's interesting to hear that. And I think, and that's really interesting. That's an important message that, lead with a strategy first, make sure you're very clear on your ICP, your account selection, as you mentioned, you spend a lot of time on your value proposition, your positioning in the market. You've got an awful lot of time on that to get that right, that message into the market. And then, obviously, then, you've created a very great, you know, experienced marketing platform around that, which is great.
Very, very last question, Katrine. So, you know, obviously, it's coming to the end of the week, you've had a tough week. You've been, you know, in and out airports, you know, running around the world doing your FLOW stuff, and you're just about to shut down your laptop and the phone goes and it's an old friend of yours who says, "Hey, Katrine, I'm about to, I've got to give a presentation on Monday morning to my CEO who, he's looking to launch an ABM strategy." And that person, that old friend of yours says to you, "What on Earth should I make sure I mention in my presentation?"
So just before you were about to open a glass of Chablis or whatever your favorite tipple is, what would be that piece of advice?
Katrine Rasmussen (Pixelz) - Right, and... I think, and this is really not about marketing, right? ABM is not, I don't think ABM is a marketing strategy. I think that it's like, it's a wrong - calling it Account-based Marketing - I think it's wrong, it's really not a marketing strategy. This is like a business strategy.
So I think number one, I think ABM, working with target accounts One-to-one, true ABM, it's definitely not a good fit for everyone. Just because you're B2B or sell, I don't know, platforms, tech, all of that doesn't mean you're a good fit for an ABM strategy. Because if you're not, if your deal sizes are not large enough, then ABM is going to be a terrible, terrible choice.
Even though it might be hyped and everyone's talking about ABM, make sure that your business model, that your deals, that the accounts you're selling to, make sure they're large enough that it makes sense to roll out an ABM strategy.
Because if that's not the case, then it's just going to be a huge waste of time and you could probably have spent your time doing a lot of other marketing activities that would make a lot more sense for your business than ABM does.
So I think that's a first-off, right? Just don't try to do ABM just for the sake of ABM. Really got to make sure that it's a good fit for the type of business that you're running.
Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - Well, I think that's great advice to finish off on. You can shut down your laptop now and have your glass of Chablis. Katrine, thanks so much for sharing your... Thanks for sharing your ABM journey with us today, and I wish you and the team there at Pixelz every success for the future. Thank you very much.
Katrine Rasmussen (Pixelz) - Thank you so much.