Cool Start-up Interview: Jon Miller, Co-Founder & CEO, Engagio

Vinay Bhagat
July 7, 2015

Cool Start-up Interview: Jon Miller, Co-Founder & CEO, Engagio

Jon Miller Engagio

What led you to start Engagio?

I’ve been fortunate enough to only work at two companies in the last 17 years. During my tenure, both companies went from small to big, and I realized that I love the small stage. I knew at some point that I was going to leave Marketo to start a new company. I wanted to stay in the marketing tech space but did not want to compete with Marketo, and spent a lot of time trying to figure out the best opportunity.

A friend of mine, Maria Pergolino, the VP of Marketing at Apttus, suggested Account Based Marketing [a strategic approach to business marketing in which an organization considers and communicates with individual prospect or customer accounts as markets of one], since she found that there was a lot of things she needed to do manually to support ABM. The more time I spent on the idea, the more I realized how good it was. There is a real need around ABM, and it was not something I saw existing Marketing Automation players directly addressing, especially as some are moving more towards B2C [business to consumer]. Account-based marketing is hardcore B2B [business to business]. I left Marketo, and then interviewed a bunch of companies mid-February to early March just learning. That’s how the core idea evolved.

What’s your vision?

The easiest way to describe what we do is Marketing Automation for the complex enterprise sale. We are not looking to replace an existing Marketing Automation tool, but rather to integrate and complement it. There are a set of things you need if you’re doing complex account-based marketing/ selling:

1) You need an account-centric focus. It’s not about one lead. You need to understand who are the people inside an account, what are the hierarchies, how the people relate to each other.  Current marketing automation tools provide views of people but not accounts.

2) You tend to use more outbound tactics. Traditionally in demand generation you “fish with a net” using tactics like white papers and webinars. You don’t care about specific fish [accounts] responding, you just care about having enough to run through your funnel. But when going after named accounts, you have to go outbound, e.g. “spearfishing”. You need to deploy a mix of tactics like events, SDR [sales development rep] tele-prospecting, direct mail, and digital outreach.

3) You are much more focused on land and expand. The traditional marketing automation framework is primarily focused on new logo acquisition. With account-based marketing, a new customer is a lead for an upsell to another product. Current systems don’t easily support being a customer, a lead and an opportunity for different products at the same time.

4) The metrics are very different. Leads and opportunities are still important, but don’t give you the right view: Who are the right people? Are they engaged? Are we developing relationships and having the right conversations?

That sounds a lot like CRM?

We’re building a marketing system that builds in these concepts. You can look at the account in Salesforce, but Salesforce doesn’t model hierarchies and relationships. That’s more of a marketing-centric view of things. Measuring how engaged someone is with your brand is typically not part of a CRM.

What are you currently building?

The core is an account-centric system of record. It pulls data from Salesforce and Marketo, and augments with Dun & Bradstreet data, etc. The goal is to create well-structured data for account-based marketing. For some companies just mapping existing leads to accounts is important.

Once we have the well-structured account-centric database, the first product we’re building is engagement analytics. This is essentially a business intelligence tool that measures: How are we influencing the account? Do we know the right people? What is the value that we’re getting out of our ABM investments?

We hope to have this first product in GA [general availability] form by Dreamforce. Our goal from there is to build interaction orchestration, where you define the account journey and the key plays you want to run to achieve account-level goals.

There will also be a sales facing component to our application. It will initially be a Salesforce plug-in, but we’ll eventually build a mobile app as well through which reps will get alerts and approve marketing activities.

Our long-term vision is to help use a deep understanding of an account to drive account-specific offers, perhaps even helping to create personalized content for each account.

Who is participating in the beta?

Our initial customers are Marketo and Salesforce users with complex, enterprise sales. We have five signed customers so far, and are looking for 8-10 total design partners who will be able to use the product for free until the end of September. Once we release our product for general availability we hope to sign up additional paying customers for the measurement product.

Jon will be at Dreamforce and is taking meetings! Please contact him at if you’d like to learn more.

About the Author

Vinay Bhagat
Vinay Bhagat, founder and CEO of TrustRadius, is an entrepreneur passionate about tackling big problems. Vinay conceived TrustRadius after experiencing challenges when buying enterprise solutions at his last company. In 1999, Vinay founded Convio, the leading Software as a Services platform for nonprofits. In April 2010, Convio became a public company, and was acquired in May 2012 for $325 million. Prior to Convio, Vinay was at Trilogy Software and Bain & Company. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School where he graduated as a Baker Scholar, an MS Engineering Economic Systems from Stanford University, and a MA Engineering Information Sciences from Cambridge University with First Class Honors. When he’s not working, Vinay loves spending time with his family, playing squash and racing cars.

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