Declan Mulkeen (strategicabm) - Okay so today I'm joined by Tyler Lessard, VP Marketing and Chief Video Strategist at Vidyard. Tyler, thanks so much for joining us today.
Tyler Lessard (Vidyard) - Oh, it's my absolute pleasure to be here. Thank you for having me. Excited to dive into this topic today.
Declan (strategicabm) - Good stuff. Well, I better let the audience know obviously, strategicabm, we are great fans of Vidyard and we've been a partner of yours for many years. So we better just put that out there. So the audience knows that we are great supporters of your software and how we use it in our own ABM programs.
So, we also had a chat last week to think about this interview and talk about it a little bit. And I was thinking it would be a good idea if we split it into two. So if we talk the first part around Vidyard and your own ABM strategy...
Tyler (Vidyard) - Sure.
Declan (strategicabm) - ...and how you use ABM to win, grow and retain your most important accounts. And then we can look at how your clients use video to support their ABM strategy. Does that, does that make sense?
Tyler (Vidyard) - That's perfect. Yep, absolutely. That sounds great.
Declan (strategicabm) - Okay, so let's start off then Tyler. Tell us something about Vidyard that perhaps the audience doesn't know.
Tyler (Vidyard) - Oh, well, you know, Vidyard actually started as a video production agency going back about 12 years ago now. Our co-founders were actually video producers working with different businesses, creating video content for them - mostly business-to-business companies. And they found that at that time they were all hosting and publishing their videos using YouTube. And, you know, they were also engineering students at the time.
So they had a very technical mindset to them and it gave them great angst that they weren't able to track data behind their videos and know, you know, how long were people really watching and who was actually watching these videos and how was it actually contributing to the business goals.
So, you know, that really sort of, fast forward to today and we've built out a full, you know, platform for both Marketing and Sales teams to, you know, both create, share and track engagement in their video content and use it in different ways. So it was really interesting to see they started on the other side of the fence to solve this problem and built the technology to solve it.
Declan (strategicabm) - Yeah, well, I can definitely concur that we, the analytics and getting behind the usage and engagement of video is such a key thing for us as well. Let's just talk about your ABM program there.
You mentioned before that it got 'serious' about 12 months ago, more or less, there at Vidyard. Can you share with us that journey in terms of what you know, what changed for you to take ABM seriously?
Tyler (Vidyard) - Yeah. You know, I think a big part of it, I think as for a lot of companies is, it was just it was part of a natural evolution of our Marketing programs over the last, you know, five to seven years or so where we really started a number of years ago with a focus on kind of broad-based inbound Marketing content strategy.
We built on top of that, some discipline demand gen programs that were, you know, very much lead-centric. As many of us start as we, you know, have an initial focus on that MQL or Marketing Qualified Lead target, you get a little bit addicted to that. And you're like - where can I find all of these different leads?
And we did build up, I think a really strong rigorous engine and a great platform over a number of years. And then, you know, two to three years ago we started to see some of these Account-based Marketing technologies really start to come into their own. And I think that was a big part of the, you know a catalyst for it. Because you started to see technology that would enable you to scale an Account-based Marketing approach.
And so as opposed to just building kind of manual programs with specific campaigns for different businesses, the you know, sort of the light was that was at the end of the tunnel there to say, ‘Hey if I put the investment into this the tech is now there to allow me to automate and scale this in interesting ways’.
And so that was really the catalyst for us to get serious about it and think about ‘what does this really mean to our business?’. And so we worked for, you know, I'd say a fairly lengthy amount of time with our Sales team to plan out our approach collaboratively, to find the right tools and technologies that would support our investments and to really integrate it into our program.
So it was really an evolution and something that we didn't just jump right into. We planned it out for a little while and made sure we had a strategy before we started into the tactics.
Declan (strategicabm) - And thinking about the actual program and the strategy that you're running there - how would you break down some of the core elements of the ABM program?
Tyler (Vidyard) - Yeah, so we, you know, we really started off with a focus on a smaller number of accounts. So we think about it. I think the way many of us do today, we look at, you know understanding first of all, account selection and who is it? What kinds of businesses do we want to focus on? And then we think about how do we now target in a kind of automated One-to-many way, those individual accounts, how does our Sales team directly engage with those accounts through different tactics and techniques and CTAs and programs.
And then how do we bring those things together with an underlying tech stack that allows us to automate some of those different pieces to be able to track the engagement and progress within those different accounts and to of course, prioritize and respond accordingly knowing which accounts are showing interest or intent versus those that aren't leaning in and using that to build an efficient program for us.
So that's kind of the framework that I think is fairly similar to what a lot of organizations do. But I think the one thing that, you know, I alluded to earlier that, you know, it's been really exciting with how we've implemented it now is our ability to scale those tactics across not just dozens of accounts but hundreds and even thousands of accounts by ensuring that we're automating a lot of that collection of who are the right businesses based on lots of sort of data coming from different sources, based on that we can now start targeting those accounts with account specific advertising and things like that and surface them to our Sales team for more meaningful one-to-one outreach.
And getting to that level of automation and scale is really exciting for me because now we can see much bigger results from those sort of core foundations that we put in place.
Declan (strategicabm) - Yeah and Tyler, what lessons have you perhaps learned over the course of the last 12 months with the ABM program that you've rolled out - looking back? Is there anything you would've done differently or?
Tyler (Vidyard) - You know, I think there's, well, let me focus on what works. Cause I think some of those came to the things we learned probably two years ago when we started to think about this smaller scale. One of the things that was really, really important - and I encourage all of you to think about - is to ensure that when you implement the strategy and you implement the technologies - be honest about it being a collaborative project between Marketing and Sales.
I know we talk all day long about Marketing and Sales alignment, and it's a, you know it's a buzz word and you know - we all say, ‘Oh yeah, we're working with them’ but be really disciplined about that and saying, it's not, it doesn't mean Marketing builds that strategy and then brings Sales into execute. That's not alignment. It's about pairing up from day one and talking about, what does this mean? What are the attributes of the ideal accounts? How do we build out those lists and those profiles? Now what does meaningful engagement mean? Right?
‘Cause as a Marketing team, you can go and say this is how we're going to do things. We're going to do direct mail and we're going to do these kinds of ads and we're going to do this. And hey, Sales team, let's get aligned to make sure that when we hand it off to you, you talk about this, right? But that's not true alignment.
Work with them and say, what do you think about this? Right? And they may come back and go, no, you know what? I've seen this work really well. We should integrate this into the strategy. So truly make it a collaborative exercise and have both leaders and individual contributors on the Sales team part of the planning with your Marketing team.
Declan (strategicabm) - Well, let's just dig a little bit more into that whole Sales and Marketing alignment and you are right. It's... I'm sure if you Google it you'd probably get back several hundred thousand results about how to align your Sales and Marketing. But, and obviously speaking to previous guests on this webinar series, many have talked about it and recent guests have talked about, you know, the use of contracts, maybe not necessarily a formal contract but at least some kind of mutual agreement, understanding... Is that something that you're seeing there at Vidyard?
Tyler (Vidyard) - Yeah, I think that's the right approach. I think to your point, going to the going to the point of everybody feeling like it is a contract that, you know, if they don't follow it they're going to, you know, be fired or, you know I don't think you want to go to that point because then you're sort of back to creating potentially that sense of animosity between the teams and, you know people are going to start pointing fingers but I absolutely do think that having, you know, a set of guidelines and expectations that apply to both teams throughout the full process is really, really important.
And I want to emphasize that on both teams because it's not just about Marketing getting alignment with Sales to say, you know you promise that you'll follow up with leads like this within 10 minutes, right? Like that's fine. But on the flip side, right? There also has to be that same level of agreement and accountability back on the Marketing team as well that the Sales team understands and that, you know, the Sales team will have that expectation of, well you're passing us a certain lead, you know because they've met a certain criteria, right? So you're respecting my time as much as I'm respecting yours.
And I think that's really, really important. And having those as a framework for the program, as a set of expectations and, yes having some level of accountability over it. But I think most importantly is having that framework where everybody knows - Hey we're all in this together. We're working towards the same end goal here. And we are all going to put in our best efforts to meet these expectations.
I think that's what's really important, and avoid finger-pointing at all costs but identifying when those expectations aren't being met and making sure that stimulates a productive conversation around, are these expectations not realistic or maybe there was a reason we couldn't hit them.
Declan (strategicabm) - I like to think that, you know, ABM is a great unifier.
Tyler (Vidyard) - Absolutely.
Declan (strategicabm) - I mean, we are unifying our Sales and Marketing efforts and indeed actually the wider efforts of the company around accounts. And I think the use of that term ‘accounts’ is so critical here because it's the language that Sales speaks. And it's the language that the C-suite speaks. And that you had mentioned earlier about MQLs and we've all been through that journey of generating MQLs.
Tyler (Vidyard) - Yeah.
Declan (strategicabm) - And some people still do, and that's fine. But I think, you know, working around, you know the accounts that you want to have more of, the accounts that you want to grow more into, the accounts that you want to retain. That is certainly a unifying language for Sales and Marketing to really get behind really.
Just a question actually Tyler, around the accounts that you mentioned earlier that you've gone from, you know, a small number of accounts to actually quite a large number that you are actually now able to deploy ABM into. Talk to me a little bit about maybe the levels of personalization that you will apply to those accounts.
Tyler (Vidyard) - Yeah so at the end of the day, there's certainly still a tiering model that would drive the level of just human capital and resources that go into the investments into each account, the levels of personalization, and the kinds of campaigns or experiences we'll run into them.
So, it is still built within a tiering model and those top tier accounts - which are a smaller number of named accounts agreed upon with the Sales team - they're the ones that are of course getting the greatest degree of personalization both from a Marketing campaign perspective as well as from a Sales outreach and engagement perspective.
So those are individuals who are going to fall into campaigns that may have some personalized direct mail experiences. They're going to be getting hyper-personalized videos from our team, from our executives, from a number of people that are reaching out to people at that account to create a more human experience and create that sort of trust factor to try to get engaged in a conversation.
They may also be the ones that we invite to participate in private round table events and, you know, virtual wine tastings and those sorts of things.
The broader set, however, tend to be those that become identified typically by the Marketing team, as you know, highly engaged accounts or those that would have a greater propensity to buy, that do fit our ideal profile but they may not be ones that are in that short named account list from our account executives, right?
So these may be ones that we're finding based on third-party intent data based on account level activity engagement in our content, not just lead level, right. They may also be coming from our product usage.
So we have a freemium product strategy, where we are trying to get lots of people in individual accounts using our free product that also now becomes a source of intent data. So, if we see an account that has multiple free users and it hits certain usage thresholds and we're seeing a high level of engagement from people across that account on our website in our content and so on. They will now bubble up as a target account and we will then automate kicking them into an Account-based Marketing experience where people at that account will now start getting personalized ads delivered to them via social media and other digital channels.
Again, they may go into a customized nurture stream for that account that has kind of account level personalization. And they may start getting customized or personalized videos from our Sales reps to start to warm them up and see if they're interested in engaging.
So it's interesting to sort of see it unfold like this and there's always different tactics depending on where they came in from and whether they're a named versus a found account.
Declan (strategicabm) - So, in effect there's very active monitoring going on, right? Depending on which tier the account falls into. And you're actively monitoring what's happening and you're moving people - the accounts up or indeed down, depending on the level of engagement and the level of activity.
Tyler (Vidyard) - That's right.
Declan (strategicabm) - So, let's switch now Tyler, to talk about your clients and how they use video to support their ABM strategy. Can we talk a little bit about that and what you're seeing?
Tyler (Vidyard) - Yeah. It's been really interesting over the last couple of years to see this evolution. You know, the initial usage of video in many Account-based programs was centred around pre-produced content that perhaps the Marketing and Sales team would get together.
They might actually create some custom video content for key accounts or for a specific sub-segment of their audience that they were going after. It might be an educational video or series. It might be a webinar. It might be things that they're doing like that for individual accounts or clusters of accounts.
However, over the last, you know, 12 to 24 months we've seen this rising adoption of one-to-one videos or personal video messages being used by the Sales team and the outbound reps as ways to better engage these key accounts and to try to get them into conversations.
So, it's been this shift from kind of One-to-many video to truly One-to-one video and empowering those reps and supporting them and guiding them on the kinds of videos they could be creating to break into those accounts. And it's everything from themselves on webcam introducing themselves more personally in a more human way and just spending a bit more time doing that, right through to actually brainstorming together with Marketing and coming up with a concept to say, Oh, based on what they do or this individual or something like that, here's a great concept for, it might be a fun video. It might be a really helpful video.
And then they're creating that together, sending it over one-to-one, and then using that as a key part of their cadence into that account to try to break through the noise.
Declan (strategicabm) - And, I know that obviously we mentioned that at the beginning of this interview the power of the analytics that you have in the platform. I know also from a client side that's also quite a key thing that clients can use as well in terms of just using any type of video within the platform and using the analytics to power those engagements and that monitoring. Right?
Tyler (Vidyard) - Yeah, that's right. It's another interesting part of it. Because as we think about, you know account-level activities, we do tend to think a lot more about engagement as opposed to just interactions or, you know, clicks. And so one of the things, again our clients will use is, you know we track behind the scenes - Who's watching which videos whether they're One-to-many or One-to-one? How long are they engaging in that content?
And we bring that data back into your core Marketing automation and CRM tools. So now you can start, to both the Marketing and Sales team, get visibility into the engagement levels in that video content. And you can do it either at an individual lead level or you can start to aggregate it at an account level.
And more sophisticated customers are actually now integrating that data at an account level, into their qualification, into their reporting to be able to see - oh this account is surging in interest because they spent collectively, you know, more than three hours watching our video content over the last seven days, right? Any individual person may not have bubbled up but collectively as a business there's a high level of engagement here and a lot of time being spent inside of our content.
So it's one of those interesting things with video as compared to other types of content where being able to know and track that, not only did they click play, but how long did they stay watching can become a very powerful kind of lead qualifier as part of your Account-based programs and and your broader Marketing programs, right?
Declan (strategicabm) - Yeah I mean, how you described it is how we use it, Tyler. So we are actively using video to see levels of engagement, to see where they start, where they stop. And as you said, looking at how those... ...the multiple people within the account that receiving those - that video content, how that is you know, coming together as a whole to show the level of engagement within the account.
One last question, just to finish off Tyler. ABM. Many people are looking to start. Many people have just recently started running programs within their organizations. What advice do you have for anybody out there? Who's either just looking to start or at the beginning of their journey.
Tyler (Vidyard) - Yeah. I would say going back to where we started this conversation, you know, partner up across your Go to Market team, your Marketing, Sales... ...if you have an Operations team, you know, pull together a cross-functional, you know 'squad' that can think about this collaboratively that can plan out different ideas and bring different perspectives to better understand you know, what can we do from, you know the sort of Marketing side? What, what ideas does Sales bring to the table? What ideas can operations bring to the table?
So start there. Start small, right? So don't try to build a, you know, a tech stack with 20 different products, you know, all at once and then hit the go button. Start small, you know, focus on those named accounts and start to get your feet wet with different tactics and techniques you can use.
And then as you go, you can always build on it. You can add more tools, more automation, more outreach. So start small and grow with it as you go and, you know, celebrate those early successes. So everybody knows what's working.
Declan (strategicabm) - Tyler, great advice. Thanks so much for sharing all your ABM insight today and look forward to see what's happening the rest of this year with Vidyard and beyond. Thank you very much.
Tyler (Vidyard) - My pleasure, thank you.