In today’s MarTech conversation, we speak with Marcus Svensson, the head of growth at Albacross, a company that collects intent data and helps users retarget and optimize their website.
Svensson explains his marketing challenges and successes and discusses how Albacross’s revenue team works together to maximize success. He also tells us about how he sees social platforms like LinkedIn as major players in the future of MarTech and how he’s changed his approach to content marketing.
Tell us about Albacross
We collect intent data across your sales and marketing stack.
The first part of this is essentially generating sales ops from website traffic data.
The second part is more geared toward marketers. So, using all the B2B data, we help you get a sense of what traffic you are generating as a result of all of your various marketing efforts, such as content, landing pages, and so on. With this information, you can do retargeting, but only for your ICP [ideal customer profile], so you don’t spend your retargeting money on companies that aren’t suited to your product.
And the last part is that we help you build the ideal website and create a more personalized experience for your visitors.
We’ve been doing this for about a year and a half now. Before that, we offered more of a freemium service that was aimed at smaller companies. But since then, we’ve tried to transition from being a free plugin to being more of a mid-market or upmarket product that can go beyond providing one basic feature and can enrich your overall marketing tech.
What do you do in your day-to-day work as head of growth and marketing?
I’m the head of growth in general, but I also handle all the marketing activities. I'm responsible for driving the pipeline for inbound sales. And when it comes to the bottom line, that's what matters.
In terms of structuring our team, something that's been quite important and successful has always been to have a developer and a designer on the marketing team because this allows you to work at an extremely high speed. And the same goes with always having a content marketer on the team. In fact, whenever I interview team members, I make sure to find people with content writing skills, otherwise, you get these gaps in your work and you end up waiting for other people to do things. With these things in place, you become your own media house. So we can try a lot of things and take bigger risks without needing to wait for other departments or external agencies to fill in the gaps.
Marketing, sales, and success is a revenue team together. But, of course, we do divide it up. We have the head of sales who handles all the BDRs [business development reps]. Then, we have our success team handling success. And then, we have the marketing team, which consists of a developer, a designer, and a content marketer, but now, we also have the SDR [sales development rep] reporting in marketing. This has been quite successful, because if you have an SDR on your team, then you also know about the quality of the meetings that are generated to make sure that communication is clear and straightforward.
Of course, we all work incredibly closely together; if you don't work closely with sales and success, there’s a disconnect between lead generation and conversion.
What are some of your goals and challenges at Albacross?
Our goal right now is to scale up. Since COVID hit, people have been more cautious about taking care of the traffic that is coming into their website. Across the B2B market, good traffic is expensive. Even if you don't buy traffic, it’s still expensive, as you need to have a robust content structure and you need a plan.
As we’re scaling, we’re also focusing on integration. Our best customers are integrated into Salesforce or Google Analytics. So, we’re working on developing more integrations.
In terms of challenges, the biggest struggle we had was with paid advertising. This was about two or three years ago when we had more of a freemium product.
The problem is that your CEO wants to see results on the ad to know which campaigns are driving which returns. And this is a common problem for most CMOs out there. The problem is the attribution model doesn't really work that well, because different things can overreach each other.
It's very hard to know exactly what is doing what. You basically need to have a very holistic approach and pay less attention to the numbers. But telling that to a CEO can be quite difficult because you can't really say, “Hey, I want to spend 20k a month, but I can't tell you what that will give you.” Eventually, I realized that the attribution model is essentially broken.
What has been most effective and why?
Building integrations has been incredibly effective. We managed to secure the German company Persona as a customer by building an integration with them.
By doing this, we built a good relationship and got a lot of referrals. But that's not really the key of the story here. Something we learned from that, is that when we do integrations, in general, it’s always best to monetize them by doing it with a company that is already willing to buy it—because then, you really get the use case.
It's very common to take a formula approach when you're building integrations because you view it your way. But it’s great to have someone to push their side as well. Even if you think you know the market incredibly well, there’s always another side of the story.
What new trends are you considering?
A lot of people are talking about “video first,” and I agree to an extent. But I think the biggest thing is branding. We focus a lot on branding, using LinkedIn as a channel. And this helps the whole organization.
One big way it helps is that it increases traffic. And those meetings that you have generated from that traffic have a much higher conversion rate. And we’ve seen that increasing activity on LinkedIn, increasing the following—these things are increasing the direct traffic and generating more opportunities for us.
I think more and more people are moving toward a focus on branding through social because every person at a company is a separate person. You can be the CMO for 5,000+ employees, but you’re still an individual. And people will be interested in the person behind it all. So, that's the reason I think social works in general.
I also see more people focusing on creating an audience instead of lead generation because then you get top of mind. And when they are ready in the future, they’ll come to you.
How does content marketing fit into your strategy?
When we first started producing content, we were very much in the mindset of producing. This wasn’t a terrible choice, because it improved SEO, but we were really just producing for the sake of producing more.
How we are working today is more about asking, “Why are we producing the content?” To be honest, from what I see, a lot of companies could not answer this question or even place their pieces of content within their sales funnels.
So, for every idea or title, we always ask ourselves, “Where does it fit?” If it doesn't fit anywhere, throw it away. Just get rid of it. When I learned to approach content in this way, I also realized that content really is important.
We also struggle with promoting content. Some people say that if you write something great, then great people will find it. Unfortunately, this is a lie. You need to promote it: 20% of it is crafting and 80% is promotion.
One other thing that’s been hugely important for us is always having an editor. And that’s not just about the grammar; it’s also about getting a second opinion. So, that can really take your content up another level. For us, it’s been a turning point in terms of our quality.