The hos and hums of account-based marketing are getting a national shake-up through Flip My Funnel, a movement launched by Sangram Vajre, Co-founder and CMO of Terminus, from a whiteboard diagram to hundreds of people at stops in Atlanta, Boston, and Chicago. Now, through help of Chief Funnel Flipper Nikki Nixon, Marketing Manager at Terminus, the conference is going to San Francisco, where attendees will learn to identify, expand, engage, and advocate change in MarTech. (Their collective voice may even trend over Kim Kardashian. They’ve done it before.)
Vajre and Nixon explain how they are challenging the decade-old marketing and sales funnel and putting it on its head.
Where did the idea for Flip My Funnel come from?
NN: #FlipMyFunnel came to being, really, as a Friday whiteboard session. Sangram had met with Jill Rowley and Rishi Dave at the MarTech Conference He had heard about social selling, and came back to write a blog about it and found himself asking, How do I really explain this concept in relation to account-based marketing? It expanded and later became a whiteboard session for our designer. We were just sketching out our idea when we came to explain the funnel. It has now gone from the whiteboard to this massive community and audience that is passionate about challenging the status quo of B2B marketing and sales.
SV: The funnel as it stands has never been challenged. This funnel has existed, as most marketing and sales people look at it, for a decade and a half. It truly has been a sales funnel that B2B marketers have adopted. The whole idea was that if it has to be a funnel, then we should flip it on its head. Let’s flip it in such a way that we can actually use to drive revenue for the business and identify the right technologies that we need as marketers to do what we want to do.
How has this account-based marketing movement taken off?
SV: We didn’t really think, “Let’s go and create a massive community.” We just wrote a blog that went viral. Then, in less than two months time, we did a sold out event right here in Atlanta at the W Hotel that became really, really big. The energy in the room that day was amazing. We were trending in the number 2 or 3 spot on Twitter that day, ranking over Kim Kardashian globally. That’s when we realized we landed on something huge and market moving.
NN: From there, we did another two events in Boston and Chicago. Now, we are doing San Francisco that has sold out a week before the event kicks off. It is really community driven and we are really just cheerleaders to make it happen.
One of the most exciting parts of this movement is that there is an offline and online component. We knew we could only get in front of so many people with events, but we wanted to expand our reach globally. We are doing that through an online Slack community that is just for #FlipMyFunnel. The community is the first of it’s kind and allows unprecedented access to both thought leaders and practitioners.
We have over 500 members on Slack and have reached over 1,000 people at our events. We recently also did a Twitter chat on #FlipMyFunnel with hundreds of people chatting with the reach in the millions.
SV: The new funnel is gaining attention because it is designed to help you be successful with everything you do from a marketing perspective.
Why take your secret formula and share it with the world through national events?
SV: For us, it is really important for us to build the category of account-based marketing. And it cannot be a category of one. Through this conference, these events, this philosophy, we are trying to bring in companies that are feeding that in some way. It is helping us to be an industry product. We don’t talk about Terminus at these conferences. We talk about B2B smarketing (sales and marketing) and how we do it a different way. Everyone is interested in a new way to do this.
NN: When we did our first event in August, ,we didn’t know what we were getting into. We just said, “We are going to go out and give it everything we have.” Sangram said the best moment of the conference was coming down to the ballroom and seeing more than 300-plus people there. We knew we had tapped into a message that would resonate with many people.
We really tried to make it fun and engaging with a DJ, and a Zumba session lead by our Terminus team members. We even launched beach balls through the air to get people pumped up for the afternoon sessions. Our goal was to engage people beyond just the concept of account-based marketing. When it was done, we thought, “That was great, but how can we get our message beyond Atlanta?” We knew we wanted to expand it across the US. So, from there, we did a virtual conference, where we put all our videos of the conference online on one day. We actually had about a thousand people who tuned in that day to watch the videos. On top of that, we did our first Twitter chats on the same day as our virtual summit. Most people do one in a day, but we challenged the status quo by doing two. We wanted people to engage and talk about what they were watching in the sessions We also sponsored viewing parties and had lunch delivered to people in New Jersey, Portland, and all over the US.
After that, we said, we are going to hit the road and head to Boston and Chicago, which we really thought were two really big markets for us. We did two roadshows in one week. Both were packed and we had some really great engagement. Our next thought was, “What’s next for us?” And that’s where San Francisco came up. We knew San Francisco was a huge tech hub, and knew that if anyone needed to know about account-based marketing it was marketers and sales professionals in San Francisco. That’s where we are going next. It’s February 25, and it will be the largest show we have ever done.
What’s on deck for Flip My Funnel, besides this coming up conference, and how will your activities move forward in 2016?
NN: We really feel that we have found a model that works from what we have planned for San Francisco. Our community has told us they want to hear more practical case studies and we’ve incorporated that feedback into the San Francisco agenda. We really want to move that model into full day conferences in Boston and either Austin or New York. and then bring it back to Atlanta where we plan have our first birthday party . We are super humbled by all the love this city has given us and we couldn’t imagine celebrating the first birthday of #FlipMyFunnel anywhere else.
We also want to expand the online community to expand our reach globally. We can do events, but your reach with events only goes so far. We have people from everywhere. Even today, we had someone sign up from Nepal in the Slack community. We do not want geography to be a factor in limiting people from learning about account-based marketing and driving revenue for their business.
SV: The community is really what will drive this movement forward and grow it into something truly massive. There is only two of us and there is only so far we can take it. It has to be led by the community for the magic to happen.
What to learn more about #FlipMyFunnel revolution? Follow their traction and hashtag on Twitter, especially this week as they kick off their first west coast event. Additional details may be found through their site at http://flipmyfunnel.com/.