Interview with VP of Marketing, Terminus – Justin Keller

Justin Keller from Terminus makes some poignant points on the importance of rich data sets and how it gives the marketers an ability to dissect and optimise each part of the buying journey.


“You don’t necessarily need lots of technology to run a successful ABM program, but you absolutely need data to help teams focus on the right targets”

1. Tell us about your role at Terminus?
As the VP of Brand Marketing at Terminus, my role is to drive our message into the market place and make it reverberate as long and loudly as I can. That means thought leadership programs, communications and PR, design, messaging, partnerships, and creative campaigns.

2. Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
I had been leading B2B marketing teams in the Bay Area for the better part of the decade. I moved to Indianapolis to join Sigstr as their head of marketing to help them build out their email signature marketing solution. I was so excited about Sigstr because, like many other marketers, I recognized how valuable the section of real estate in an everyday 1-to-1 email was for promoting various initiatives. Even more impressive than Sigstr’s ability to turn email into a targeted promotional channel, though, was the first-party data they were able to collect that mapped and quantified the relationships between a company, its employees, and the rest of the world. These two things ultimately led to Terminus’ acquisition of Sigstr and, with it, I was lucky enough to join their leadership team to focus on continuing the ABM and brand work we had started at Sigstr.

3. How do you think technology is upgrading the marketing sector?
It used to be the case that B2C and B2B marketing had very little in common. These days, B2B companies that are doing things right are nearly indistinguishable from a consumer brand. As a result, B2B buyers have heightened expectations around the quality of their experience, the level of personalization, and communications patterns that almost force vendors to be clairvoyant.

Thankfully, the market is meeting these demands and there are so many great, new technologies to create a phenomenal experience for our audiences where more entrenched legacy vendors haven’t been able to deliver. The problem, though, is that cobbling together a bunch of point solutions means loads of APIs connecting a sprawling and expensive tech stack. That has me really excited about this moment in marketing history– there hasn’t been a single new platform that allows marketers to pick audiences and tell a story across multiple channels in a simple way until now.

4. How has data-driven approach empowered marketers in customer acquisition?
Decades ago, the only hard data that marketers had access to was revenue– which was too lagging an indicator. Skip ahead to 15 years ago, B2B marketers started measuring leads– which was perhaps too much of a leading indicator. Today, CMOs are once again measured on revenue, but rich data sets have given them the ability to measure and optimize every part of the buying journey from first brand impression all the way to new revenue. CMOs can use data to assemble perfect segments in unprecedented ways. They can use data to understand how the messages their teams are deploying to those segments are driving engagement. They can use data to understand how sales teams are driving opportunities forward at the individual and aggregate levels. They can even use things like Relationship Scores to better predict which opportunities are going to close.

With so much data at their fingertips, I think it’s empowering marketing teams to focus on what they do best: tell great stories to the right audiences without having to spend time pouring over spreadsheets and making educated guesses.

5. Can you explain how sales intelligence helps in drafting better ABM strategies?
The main goal of using data in an ABM program is, simply, to increase your success rate and to do so faster. There are around 15 million B2B businesses in the world. By layering in firmographic, technographic, and behavioral intent, companies can reduce the number of target businesses to deliver super relevant messages at the time it’s most appropriate. That’s it.

You don’t necessarily need lots of technology to run a successful ABM program, but you absolutely need data to help teams focus on the right targets.

6. How do you define your Customer Retention and lifecycle marketing solution?
Marketers have been focused at the top of the funnel for what feels like forever. We’re all pretty good at generating leads and then handing them off to sales and the next time we see them is if they (hopefully) become a customer. The nature of business and the role of CMOs has changed a lot in the past 5 years from focusing on lead generation to revenue generation. Sure, revenue comes from bringing on new customers, but true growth happens when you’re accelerating pipeline, maintaining your customer base, and expanding your existing customer base.

Customers need to be segmented and marketed to just like any other company. For example, at Terminus we make it really simple to pull in customer data like behavior, usage, relationship health, and firmographics to improve the effectiveness of your customer growth and retention strategies.

Now, especially because of shelter-in-place, we’re seeing a lot of our users turn to Terminus to develop customer lifecycle programs. These capabilities have always been available in Terminus, but getting marketers to really focus on their customer marketing strategies took a global pandemic to really gain traction.

7. What features of your ABM platform contributed in being rated as the #1 ABM platforms by the customers?
The primary reason isn’t in the platform at all! It’s the people behind it. We have a phenomenal engineering team who listen intently to our customers to build better technology. We also have a unique approach to our customer success called Terminus 360, which gives each one of our customers an entire dedicated team to make sure they’re successful. The number of human resources we dedicate to our customers is unmatched in the market.

From a technology perspective, Terminus is the most complete solution out there. We have a very robust and unique data foundation on which the platform is built. We offer more engagement channels, from targeted display, retargeting, employee email, and social advertising, to chat and website personalization. All of these channels create engagement signals that are pumped into the CRMs and marketing automation platforms of our customers in real time, giving teams unbeatable insights on when and how to create a relationship. And, lastly, we’ve got an attribution and marketing analytics solution that’s best in class at measuring all marketing performance, not just your account-based efforts.

8. What advice would you like to give to the technology Start Ups?
1. Don’t underestimate the value of design. Invest in design as soon as you can
2. Celebrate and appreciate your outbound team. They have one of the toughest jobs in your business and are often the first brand impression your customers have– make sure it’s an amazing impression.
3. Get good at saying no.
4. Have fun. Your enthusiasm will make a bigger impact on your market presence than you think.

9. What is the Digital innovation in sales technology according to you that will mark 2020?
They’re not new, but digital collaboration tools have become mission critical. The better companies are at sharing information to distributed workforces the more considerable competitive advantage they will have.

10. How do you prepare for an AI-Centric world?
As AI becomes more prominent, we need to take a balanced approach. It’s important that forward-thinking leaders eagerly adopt AI to stay ahead of the competition, but I think it’s a few years before AI becomes commonplace in B2B marketing and, even then, will still require a human approach.

11. What are the major developments you are planning, in recent time?
Marketing Automation became the standard for B2B marketing teams about 15 years ago. In that time, not a lot has changed with them, even as innovative point solutions come into the market at an accelerated pace. Still, there hasn’t been a new unified marketing application that teams can use to run sophisticated, integrated programs. Terminus is in a unique position to fill what we think is a major gap in the marketplace. We’re building the modern marketing platform that will become the standard, just like marketing automation did 15 years ago.

12. Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
The Terminus marketing team has about 20 members that are split roughly in half between brand and demand. My team creates the content, design, messaging, and creative programs that the demand team then uses to run campaigns.

13. We have heard that you have a very joyful work culture, so can you share with us some of the fun pictures of your workplace?

14. Can you give us a glance of the applications you use on your phone?

Justin is the VP of Marketing at Terminus, the leading account-based marketing platform. He’s got over 15 years of experience running marketing teams, driving revenue growth, and creating brands that people fall in love with. When he’s not at work, he’s either in the kitchen as an amateur chef, behind the board as a music producer, or high-fiving his mutt, Lemmy. He’s got 2 BAs from Indiana University, an MBA from Purdue, and a digital marketing lecturer at San Francisco State University.

Founded in 2014, Terminus is the leader of the account-based movement. We help our customers transform B2B marketing by focusing on sales and marketing resources on the best-fit, most likely to buy segments of their addressable market. Our platform empowers marketing teams to easily build, operate, and measure scalable account-based initiatives that drive quality growth.
We partner with hundreds of marketing organizations at companies like Salesforce, GE, Verizon, 3M, and CA Technologies to provide the technology and expertise that produce exceptional results.

For more information please visit our Website.

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