Phenom, a leading talent experience management platform, is all about creating hyper-personalized experiences for candidates, recruiters, employees, and management. You can imagine how difficult it must be for their marketing...
Phenom, a leading talent experience management platform, is all about creating hyper-personalized experiences for candidates, recruiters, employees, and management. You can imagine how difficult it must be for their marketing and sales teams to create relevant content for each of their personas and consistently deliver engaging experiences at scale.
For the past three years, Phenom has made their name on multiple fastest-growing tech companies rankings — from The Inc 5000 in 2017 to Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 list in both 2018 and 2019. A company seeing this type of year-over-year growth is definitely doing something right, so we had to learn more about how Phenom delivers on their promise of being the most powerful talent experience platform.
We recently chatted with Justin Noll, Senior Director of Marketing at Phenom, to learn about how the Phenom sales and marketing teams are aligned on a single account engagement platform, and how they are yielding great results by focusing on the right accounts at the right time, with the right message with the help of…you guessed it, 6sense.
One of the main challenges Phenom was facing prior to 6sense was an internal lack of strong sales and marketing alignment. Marketing was producing content, but was struggling to identify what would be hyper-relevant, valuable content throughout their sales cycle. Sales was getting into conversations too late; too often, they would find out that prospects were already in deal cycles with direct competitors. They identified their core needs: a platform that could uncover demand to increase pipeline and opportunities, and had predictive capabilities to provide them strong insights and data.
6sense was soon brought into the picture after checking all the boxes; at this point, Phenom was in its early stages of ABM. They knew there was a shift to ABM across the board with B2B companies, and that they had to get on board. Phenom was quickly up and running with the 6sense Account Engagement Platform, and 6sense immediately began providing insights to the sales, marketing, and SDR teams.
Since its initial deployment, 6sense has been an integral part of Phenom’s ABM process, from uncovering demand, to shaping their marketing tiers, to sourcing and influencing meetings, to driving their content strategy and more. With a unified platform and rich account data for both sales and marketing, Phenom’s teams have successfully aligned their go-to-market efforts.
Phenom started with the basics — selecting their best accounts — by structuring their tiered accounts based on 6sense’s AI-driven predicted buying stages. The Phenom marketing team is responsible for thousands of accounts, and the ultimate goal is to push them down into their tiers. Each of their tiers — Good fit (ICP), Targeted (marketing’s focus), Prioritize (SDRs’ focus), and Pipeline (Opportunity stage) — are powered by 6sense intent data and predictions. Accounts in ‘Prioritize’, for instance, are identified by accounts in Decision and Purchase stages in 6sense. This has helped the SDR team prioritize their accounts and personalize their outreach, which has increased the team’s productivity. The SDRs are now able to score and prioritize accounts by engagement and tangible data rather than guesswork—and they are now making educated judgments on their next best actions by using 6sense insights.
The Phenom SDRs primarily use 6sense to identify net new accounts. They pick up accounts as they start showing intent signals and searching relevant keywords, and reach out once they hit the appropriate buying stage, indicating that they are in-market. The sales reps use 6sense to determine next steps on deals that are currently in motion. If a deal was previously likely to close, but there is a sudden change or lack of engagement, the rep will adjust their actions accordingly. Depending on the keywords being researched, the sales leader and sales rep work together on different routes for their conversation with the prospect and evaluate their confidence in the deal coming in.
The Phenom team closely and regularly measures their results with 6sense, ensuring that the platform is continuing to deliver value (a smart tactic!). The ops team has built a field in their Salesforce instance that indicates “marketing influenced” — which includes 6sense — in order to track how many meetings have been influenced by 6sense, moved to a demo and ultimately an opportunity. In Q1, 28% of the meetings generated by the Phenom marketing team were influenced by 6sense according to the SDR team, and 20% of those meetings turned into opportunities.
Simply put, Justin says: “If I can show that 6sense is influencing opportunities and helping us close deals that we wouldn’t have ever known about without the data — which it is — that’s where my ROI is.”
In order to understand Phenom’s journey to predictable revenue growth, it’s important to understand their sales process. Buying centers today are fragmented and typically consist of 10 or more individuals, which can be cumbersome for sales and marketing teams to identify, manage, and engage; from a marketing perspective, Phenom targets 25-50 people at any given company. The Phenom platform is designed for people in HR, HRIS, talent management, university recruiting, and talent acquisition, all at different levels, and so keeping track of each persona and the messaging required to gauge their interest — and doing this at scale — was virtually impossible without the right technology. The sales and marketing teams are now able to successfully get into conversations early, with relevant messaging powered by 6sense intent and keyword data, and close bigger deals.
The Phenom revenue team covers all bases with a combination of tactics, from serving different display ads to different personas to monitoring account engagement to sales outreach to the right people at the right time using key insights.
For their display tactics, the marketing team targets accounts at the Awareness stage; given how large the buying center can be for Phenom, it’s important for them to get in front of all teams that could be involved in the sales process. The last thing the team wants, Justin explained, is the sales rep in late stages of a deal discovering that an entire buying group had been left out of the conversation, resulting in the deal being delayed.
To avoid this, they leverage 6sense to identify the personas and buying teams that are engaging, not engaging, and even those that they haven’t yet engaged with. If the 6sense platform picks up engagement from other buying groups they are not yet engaged with, the sales rep and SDR work together to reevaluate their strategy and include additional teams or personas that are showing intent. With the help of 6sense, the Phenom sales team is able to proactively engage all members of the various buying groups, as well as serve them content directly relevant to their needs based on their keyword searches.
Tracking where engagement is coming from also has helped the Phenom team account for influencers in the deal that might not be in the U.S. If they notice intent through 6sense occurring from other countries, they will leverage the 6sense persona map as well as their own prospecting methods to ensure they are proactively engaging with everyone involved in influencing the deal, especially those doing research that are not yet engaged.
Justin mentions the account intelligence that 6sense provides has resulted in sales reaching out to marketing for meetings, explaining that “the marketing team now has something of great value that’s also helped in building out our ABM process. You need a platform like 6sense to do all this — and measure — effectively.”
In building out their ABM process and getting hyper-targeted in their approach, the Phenom team has been a content-producing engine. With five different departments that use their platform and key personas within each that they target, they are consistently producing relevant content using 6sense buying stage predictions as the backbone of their content mapping process. Depending on which buying stage a given account is in, the level of a persona’s engagement, and the predicted value of that persona compared to the typical buying center, they are provided with educational material specific to their needs, through targeted display and/or personal outreach from sales. Through this ongoing exercise, the Phenom content team has been able to also identify the gaps for which they need to produce content.
Justin says, “Tracking an account from marketing to deal closed through ABM is not easy work — either you work as a team or you will lose alignment.” It’s clear from the entire revenue team process that Phenom is working as a close-knit team. From SDRs, to the sales team, to all of marketing, everyone is speaking a single truth, powered by AI and insights, and has aligned on the 6sense platform. They are well on their way to achieving predictable revenue growth, with sales and marketing alignment that has allowed them to prioritize effectively and engage with their buyers at scale.
When asked what the biggest impact of 6sense has been thus far, Justin responded without a blink.
It’s been a game-changer, creating revenue that we wouldn’t have realized without 6sense. We’ve been able to show leadership that we’ve identified opportunities that didn’t exist — opportunities that weren’t even on the radar for SDR or sales that have closed — and that’s huge value.