Engagio raises cash to help the 'expand' part of 'land and expand'

Selling more stuff to an existing customer, or at least a prospect with a good chance of success, is easier than selling stuff cold to a random prospect. Engagio wants to make it even easier.

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A great way to get media attention is to point out the historical success of your founder. In the case of Engagio, the tantalizing factoid is that its founder, Jon Miller, previously co-founded Marketo, the marketing automation player that has been making waves. The fact that Miller left Marketo to embark on a new venture is interesting. In his case, Miller uses a metaphor to explain his motivations: As he sees it, "too many sales and marketing teams were hunting the big fish with nets -- when they needed to fish with spears."

What that means in practice is that rather than the traditional blunt approach to marketing automation, Miller's new gig, Engagio, is all about highly refined targeting of customers -- Engagio builds a series of tools that help companies to target only the accounts that are most likely to drive significant revenue. Engagio's catchy little sound bite is to call this "account-based everything," but really it's just about targeting the top echelon of customers.

To further explain what Engagio actually means by account-based marketing (ABM), it is important to understand the way marketing automation traditional works. Generally, it is predicated on using tools such as inbound, content marketing, lead nurturing, marketing automation, analytics, email, social media and native advertising. These tools, at least if you buy Engagio's line, are great for high-velocity, low-value deals with a single decision-maker. As the company points out, cast a wide enough net, and almost any marketing strategy will surely catch some leads.

But what Engagio is focused on is the landing (and expanding) of deals with named accounts or enterprise-level brands -- in other words, within businesses that have a network of individuals, rather than a single person, responsible for buying. Per Engagio, major, complex deals with long sales cycles depend on a much more targeted approach than for single decision-maker accounts. This is where account-based marketing comes in.

The account-based marketing approach applies B2B marketing and sales principles to the challenge of selling to businesses by targeting company accounts rather than individual sales leads. ABM creates personalized interactions -- more specific and relevant than traditional marketing -- that enable sales and marketing teams to land more accounts and expand existing ones, even in the complex sales environments.

The company, which only launched a year ago, has been on something of a sales roll of late. That is, perhaps, what convinced investors to pony up by way of a $22 million Series B funding round. The round, which was led by Norwest Venture Partners, also had participation from FirstMark Capital and Storm Ventures.

In terms of how it actually works in practice, the Engagio platform sits on top of marketing automation platforms and Salesforce to provide an account-based view and orchestrate outbound interactions across sales and marketing. In its short life, Engagio has snagged a number of high-profile customers including PROS, BlueJeans, New Relic and Apttus. And those customers seem to be happy.

"The Engagio platform helps PROS engage target accounts, expand customer relationships and deepen sales-and-marketing alignment," said Patrick Schneidau, chief marketing officer of revenue and profit optimization at PROS. "We have an account-based strategy, but before, Engagio struggled to create a consolidated view across sales and marketing into all interactions within our target accounts. But now, Engagio aligns our activity so the entire go-to-market team can see exactly what is happening across each and every account."


Engagio is certainly fulfilling a need in the marketplace. As marketing automation becomes the norm, rather than a tool used by only a few companies, organizations are looking for higher-level tools to be able to drive revenue and growth.

The fact that Engagio sits nicely alongside more traditional marketing automation platforms as well as Salesforce introduces some interesting possibilities when it comes to potential acquirers. Salesforce has, of course, a particularly acquisitive nature and would be a good home for the company, but don't look past some of those marketing automation vendors considering Engagio as a compelling add-on to their existing offerings.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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