Sangram Vajre is co-founder and Chief Evangelist at Terminus. He is also the author of Account-Based Marketing for Dummies and founder and host of the daily #FlipMyFunnel podcast. Previously, Vajre was head of marketing at Pardot. He has a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Alabama.
This short bio doesn’t do justice to an extraordinary marketer who has raised the benchmark and written the textbook on SAAS marketing with initiatives like #FlipMyFunnel and his podcast series which recently completed 100 episodes!
For a long time, I have been interested in getting Sangram’s views on how he views modern marketing and the creation of awareness and ultimately demand for his business and I’m sure there are going to be a lot of keepers in this one!
Sangram thanks so much for agreeing to take my questions, #FlipMyFunnel is now the stuff of marketing legend, are you satisfied with where the whole endeavour is at currently? What’s the north star metric you try and stay on top of – event attendance, community numbers, engagement?
A. The work is never done although, I would say that it’s really fulfilling when I see fellow marketers having ABM in their title and seeing the #FlipMyFunnel podcast rise up to the top 50 business podcast. To me, community first mindset has really opened up a new way of thinking. The north star metric for me right now is seeing the #FlipMyFunnel conference be full of aspiring B2B Marketing and Sales professionals and the community becoming the world’s largest and most engaged in their pursuit of excellence.
- There is so much talk about how brands should do media, become publishers, acquire an audience and take control of their own messaging. Did you ever think about or discuss this strategy internally?
A. Great question. I believe, community first is a real strategy that can make even small brands look like giants. Think of why Salesforce launched Dreamforce or Hubspot funds Inbound, or Gainsight touts Pulse, or Terminus stands behind #FlipMyFunnel.
All these are brands that understand that their products can become commodity one day but their community will also help them thrive and look into the future. Having the backing of a community almost makes them irrepressible.
- How did you decide to get onboard with the podcasts? Were you seeing a lot of traction on other podcasts or was it more of a let’s do it and see where it lands?A. The initial idea was to create a way to give voice to the community beyond our own personal view. After all, community is made up of people they deserve a microphone. We started brainstorming with James Carbary, CEO of Sweet Fish Media who is now the producer of this show and he helped us figure out a strategy to do it daily that will not only give voice to the community but also to influencers. We are now so humbled and honoured to see #FlipMyFunnel podcast cross 100 podcasts and become the top 50 business podcast.
- You sure ended up with a loyal following and a whole bunch of views – 3.5 million? Did you expect that? What are the key elements of what make your podcasts so successful?A. The #FlipMyFunnel podcast has become an amazing flywheel. The content that is created from the podcast through interviews, book reviews turn into blogs and daily status update on LinkedIn and twitter.
This has truly been a game changer for me personally to engage with the community on 1:1 level and the flywheel of podcast has made me realize that great content doesn’t have to look pretty, it just has to be great!
- While these efforts look a little siloed, with regard to FMF and the podcasts and the community building – when seen together it appears to be a pretty strong media program encompassing a mix of created and curated content! Are there any plans to make it more cohesive maybe?A. We are taking one step at a time and learning as we go. There are four main foundation blocks of the #FlipMyFunnel community:
- The #FlipMyFunnel conference (happening in Boston on August 8th,
- The #FlipMyFunnel podcast (which is daily)
- The FlipMyFunnel State of ABM survey (which happens yearly)
- The FlipMyFunnel blog and meetups that gives voice to practitioners that make magic happen but have no other media outlet or small groups to share their story. As we continue to grow leaps and bounds, we are always looking to find ways to help our community make magic happen.
- Do you focus on lead gen coming out of these programs? Do you track any of that in a formal way? Give me a sense of that because so many B2B brands don’t get that a media program is going to take time to build out quality content, get the audience coming back?A. It will be awkward to talk about lead generation when I talk about ABM all the time 🙂 At the same time, of course, community is made up of people and they need to be reached out to in many ways than one and we take a ton of pride in the conference, podcast content, and the state of ABM report that helps us share the story of the modern practitioner. We are fast approaching a 10,000 strong community which is in addition to the millions of LinkedIn views and close to 50,000 podcast downloads that continually drives awareness and engagement.
- What’s next? More podcasts, more user submitted content maybe? Your own app bringing all of this together?
A. We want to take our content to the next level and the blog is a big part of it. We truly want it to be the voice of the community.
- Finally Sangram, who is your marketing hero, the one person you look upto for inspiration?Marc Benioff. I think he is the ultimate marketer.
My experience at Salesforce showed me how he comes up with a singular message that unites the entire company and the industry.