Guest: Hal Green | Director of Marketing | Geophysical Insights
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a hot topic, but how is it really different from what B2B companies have been doing for many years? And how does it mesh with traditional lead generation efforts? Hal is a marketing and sales veteran of over 40 years with continued successes staying on top of the evolution of marketing strategies and the supporting technologies. In this episode, he offers deep perspective on how traditional initiatives must change to realize the most ROI.
Laura Cuttill (00:06):
Hello there and welcome to our podcast. I’m visiting with Hal Green today, the director of marketing for a company called Geophysical Insights. They’re based in Houston and they provide software to the energy industry. A little bit of background here. Advertas has worked with Geophysical Insights since 2010, and they actually helped launch the Paradise® AI Workbench for Seismic Interpretation in 2013. So, we have a little bit of history here with Hal. Today Geophysical Insights is recognized as a thought leader worldwide in machine learning for seismic data interpretation and Hal’s going to give us a little bit of his feedback and successes and lessons learned in their marketing journey with Advertas.
Laura Cuttill (01:18):
Hal, welcome to our podcast.
Hal Green (01:20):
Thank you, Laura. I’m delighted to be here.
Laura Cuttill (01:23):
Great. So let me start with this question. Account-based marketing is a hotly discussed topic these days, but in reality, B2B marketers who come from sales backgrounds, especially like you do, they’ve been practicing the fundamentals of this for years. So, what do you think has changed over what’s been done before and what’s really new here?
Hal Green (01:45):
Well, that’s a great question. Account-based marketing or ABM, as it’s often known is about using data from a variety of sources to focus the marketing message. What’s changed today is the availability and the abundance of that data through data service providers and marketing software applications, the marketing tech stack, if you will. For example, to elaborate a little bit, from intent data we know when target accounts in our industry are searching on key terms. Those key terms might include machine learning or AI or seismic interpretation. And through business intelligence tools, we know the executive leadership of target accounts. There’s a finite number of target accounts around the world in our industry, specifically the oil and gas industry. We know when someone downloads, for example, a technical paper, or accesses a presentation on our public site, their contact details go into our CRM. These tools are all integrated in our case. So Geophysical Insights, we have a robust integrated marketing tech stack and contact details in the energy industry, frankly, that rival some publications in our industry.
Laura Cuttill (03:06):
That’s really interesting. Yeah.
Hal Green (03:11):
It is, and it’s of course it’s like any industry, it’s a dynamic industry, especially this year. Lots of changes have occurred. People change roles in companies, so their contact details in the CRM must continue to be maintained to be effective. This is one aspect of our business, we’re very disciplined about maintaining those roles, or the information about those individuals as they change jobs. But in the end purchasing decisions on a specific technology product are often taken by only a few key decision makers and influencers at target account. This is true. I find B2B sales in general, especially in the tech space. So, maintaining those relationships still is important in winning business, despite our leveraging technology today. That makes sense.
Laura Cuttill (04:03):
Yeah, for sure. So, as a follow on to that, marketers have historically cast a pretty wide net when it comes to lead generation programs. How do you see those coming into line with account-based marketing strategies? Is that something that you see being ditched altogether, or do you think people are trying to incorporate them?
Hal Green (04:26):
No, we take best practices from what might be termed traditional sales approaches, marketing approaches and ABM. We use ABM as an overlay to these traditional sales processes and other forms of marketing outreach. For example, if we exhibit at a conference, we will use our CRM to reach out to prospects and invite them to visit our booth, to hear technical talks on applications of machine learning to seismic interpretation, with a particular focus on our target accounts. We may also run ads say on the social platforms, targeting specific roles. Then during the conference, we are scanning badges to build that list of visitors, which will then go into our CRM and be provided to field sales as a follow-up. So we use both.
Laura Cuttill (05:21):
I see. I see. So you talked a little bit about field sales. How have you found the sales to change as a result of the account-based marketing? And I happen to know that you guys have a network of global sales reps. So, how has this impacted them?
Hal Green (05:38):
Yeah. Outside of the U.S. as you’ve noted and a few other countries, Geophysical Insights goes to market through rep firms, which get lead reports typically weekly that’s based on multiple sources, including the intent data I mentioned earlier, website visitors and individuals request of different information on Paradise® in Seismic Interpretation. Advertas, for us, as our agency distills and enriches the individual contacts on those lead reports so that our reps know something in advance about each individual before they email or call or reach out in some fashion. And again, we target specific accounts within the sales region, within each sales region. So, we go from a very large set of prospects to a few specific individuals.
Laura Cuttill (06:34):
So, talk to me a little bit about some of the biggest challenges your marketing initiatives are facing in the current economy and a little bit about how you’re tackling those.
Hal Green (06:44):
Well, we are in a very competitive environment, despite the use of machine learning tools in our product. There are many providers in this space and we are challenged like all firms to distinguish ourselves. And the present conditions in the energy industry have caused companies to contract budgets, some dramatically, as you know. So, our strategy is clear, I think from the very public initiatives that we have undertaken during the pandemic, making our e-courses and machine learning and seismic interpretation free. Underwriting the attendance for target accounts to the 2020 Oil and Gas Machine Learning symposium, which was recently held. We’ve used this time, in other words, to build awareness of our brand, by giving back to the industry, which we are confident will pay dividends long-term.
Laura Cuttill (07:44):
So, with all that being said, all the factors combined, what would you say are the biggest contributors to the success in weaving traditional marketing practices into an account-based marketing program?
Hal Green (07:58):
We believe that no one tool or technique is a silver bullet. ABM is an excellent methodology and must be complemented by a robust CRM along with other data analysis and business intelligence tools. But, companies must have the discipline to use these tools persistently and by use, I mean equipping their field sales and representatives to use the data, to build those relationships, to build both the brand and build individual relationships. In the end, it is up to field sales to get deals across the finish line.
Laura Cuttill (08:40):
Well Hal, thank you so much for your comments today. We really appreciate you coming on the show. If anybody has any questions or comments, you’re welcome to go onto Twitter or our LinkedIn feed and submit those there. And I’m sure Hal will be happy to answer questions or respond. So, thank you very much Hal, and we hope to see you again in the future.
Hal Green (09:02):
My pleasure, Laura, thank you.