Google can drive our cars. Waze tells us how to get where we want to go

“So why can’t machines help us determine which campaigns go to which account?” asked Jason Garoutte, CEO and co-founder of San Francisco-based YesPath, an account-based marketing (ABM) solution that just came out of stealth.

Why Not Us?

Garoutte and co-founder and CTO Brian Zotter left Salesforce to embark on a path that eventually led into the jammed-packed MarTech startup world on their own. Before starting YesPath, Zotter was vice president of technology and products at ClearStory Data, and Garoutte was chief marketing officer and general manager of Mintigo

Now, after about a year in stealth mode — and an infusion of capital from Marketo-backer Storm Ventures — they released YesPath ABM, a platform backed by artificial intelligence and big data technologies. 

Along with Storm Ventures, Bloomberg Beta and Wing are also investors. The Board of Advisors includes Silicon Valley CEOs and CMOs, including Meagen Eisenberg, CMO of MongoDB; James McDermott, CEO and co-founder of Lytics; and Brett Queener, president and COO of SmartRecruiters.

Garoutte and Zotter claim the marketing platform will help B2B marketing and sales teams automate account-based marketing. Businesses use an ABM approach to target key accounts and individual prospects rather than relying on lead generation or mass marketing. Or, as Lexington, Mass. business consultancy ITSMA defines it, “treating each account as a market of one.” 

ABM Train Steams Ahead

According to Google Trends, interest in account-based marketing spiked during the past year and is at an all-time high today.

screenshot showing google trends for account-based marketing

LinkedIn has jumped on the bandwagon. And companies like Demandbase secured big investments

In its State of Account-based Marketing Study in 2015, SiriusDecisions reported 92 percent of B2B organizations saw ABM as extremely or very important to their marketing initiatives. And 60 percent planned to invest in it in the next year.

"ABM is about understanding the customer, getting to know what they’re worried about and understanding relationships over time,” Garoutte told CMSWire. “You can became an invaluable partner. That’s the motivation for ABM and why we're doing what we’re doing.”

David B. Thomas, senior director at Leadspace, a San Francisco B2B marketing and sales technology company, said B2B marketers are accustomed to peaks and valleys. 

david thomas headshot

"When times are good, we do what we’ve always done," Thomas told CMSWire. "When demand turns down, we look for the next big thing. In 2008 it was social media. A few years later, it was content marketing. We heard lots of success stories about both — some real, some exaggerated — so when something like ABM comes along, we’re conditioned to prick up our ears and listen, to find out how it could help us."

Marketers using ABM methods gain a closer connection to their most valuable prospects, he said, and it’s far from an abstract concept. 

"When companies apply an ABM approach, it requires them to think about how inbound leads are routed, and how they match leads to accounts in the CRM," Thomas said. "Without that discipline and a software solution that helps you bring leads and accounts together, ABM just won’t work. …  Why wouldn’t you concentrate on accounts with the highest potential value? Why wouldn’t you personalize your message to be relevant to those accounts? Why wouldn’t you consider the needs of every influencer in the buyer decision?"

Deep Data Dive

So why YesPath? Its platform offers technology that captures personalization beyond competitors offerings, its co-founders said. Some use reverse IP lookup to learn who comes to a website, and target content from there. Others personalize messages based only on a user’s click patterns upon arrival to a site.

YesPath goes deeper, its founders said.

screenshot of yespath technology

It’s powered by Bombora, which collects data from 3,000 B2B publisher sites like Forbes, Mashable and CIO.com, according to Garouette. Zotter’s technology team uses an algorithm to process that data and discover interest signals. It’s called the YesPath Intent Network.

“If HP is reading more or less about marketing analytics or Dell is reading about sales productivity, we know that, and we can do that with anonymous visitors,” Garoutte said. “They don’t need to them to fill out a form. For every person who fills out a lead form, there are 10 who come to the website who don’t. And there are those colleagues who never even come to the website, too.”

YesPath uses advances in artificial intelligence to automate the coordination of cross-channel campaigns tailored to specific accounts. This helps manage what Garouette calls the “dark funnel,” those prospects that don’t fill out a lead generation form or perhaps do not even come to the website.

“We’re trying to manage those,” Garouette said.

Goodbye, Salesforce

So why leave Salesforce? After all, Garoutte was vice president of product marketing there (from 2009 to 2012) and Zotter served as vice president of engineering  (2012 to 2013).

In short, they said they saw “missed opportunities around the Salesforce orbit,” Garoutte said. Marketing automation systems could work better if it used the power of big data and algorithms, they added.

Zotter said he and Garoutte got to see the problems of the “dark funnel” for marketers firsthand while at Salesforce.

“We’re startup guys from the beginning,” Garouette said. 

“When I joined Salesforce there were only 500 employees (versus more than 16,000 now) and to me that was a really big company. We were a little bit lucky that Brian and I ended up at a company that was growing incredibly fast. I learned a tremendous amount about marketing and sales as did Brian managing his engineering team. We wanted to take that knowledge and do something with it … to feel like we’re changing the world in a little way of our own.”