On Wednesday 9th October 2019, we hosted our second live broadcast: ABM Beyond the Hype: How to get started today.
ABM (account-based marketing) is an often misunderstood concept, with even seasoned marketers feeling confused about what it is and how to get started with it. The purpose of our latest webinar was to cut through all the jargon and misinformation and provide clear, practical advice on how you can add ABM to your marketing efforts, right away.
For this reason, we assembled an awesome line-up of speakers who are working every day on the front-line of ABM. They were:
Alice de Courcy, Head of Marketing at Cognism [Moderator]
We asked our panel 6 vital ABM questions. Their answers will help any marketer launch their own ABM campaigns, fully optimised to produce the best results.
1. What does a good ABM campaign look like?
The answer here is - it depends! It depends on the company and their objectives, the market they’re working in and the territory in which they’re based. But within that, there are things you can do to make sure your ABM campaign is as primed as it possibly can be for success.
“When we go about implementing ABM, it’s during the discovery phase that we get together with our sales team, senior and junior, and we drill into their existing sales cycle. We understand the steps and phases that exist, the blockers and objections, the timescales they’re working with, what’s the buying journey like, how long it takes to convert a typical sale from initial inquiry through to conversion. We need to know those things to set KPIs and goals for the campaign.”
Building a profile of your perfect customer is an important factor that can make or break an ABM campaign.
“You need to be absolutely clear who your Ideal Customer Profile is. This is something every business should do. It’s an incredibly useful exercise even outside of ABM. Who are we not selling to at the moment that we could be selling to? That’s a good question to ask.”
2. How do you decide which tactics to use?
There are many different tactics you can deploy when running an ABM campaign, from live events to online advertising, blog posts to direct mails! Which ones you use will depend on the decision-maker you’re targeting and where they spend their time.
How can you pick the right channels? The panel agreed that personalisation is the key.
“Personalisation is the difference between ABM working or not working. But the personalisation has to be meaningful. It really comes down to who you’re going after, in terms of the type of business sector they’re in, the type of person you’re looking for, and that will help you determine which tactics to use.”
3. What tech is out there to help? Is there a no-tech route?
Everyone working in B2B and SaaS will be aware that there has been an explosion in sales and marketing tech. People can be overwhelmed by the avalanche of choice available to them. How can you make the right tech choices for ABM - and can ABM be done without buying tech?
“You can absolutely do ABM without technology. Don’t rush into making decisions for a tech stack when you’re trying to learn and implement ABM. Instead, have regular meetings between sales, marketing and CS to agree on a plan for each account and see how you can leverage the knowledge you already have in your team.”
4. How about the metrics? What should you track?
When you launch an ABM campaign, you need to prove to management and the wider business that it’s worthwhile. While the ABM metrics you track will vary from campaign to campaign and company to company, we asked our panel for the top metrics you need to focus on.
“Moving further up in the funnel than revenue and pipeline, which are the ultimate metrics that we’re looking for, the thing that we’re really interested in is genuine engagement. You need to understand engagement far more deeply than who clicked what and who downloaded what. The thing that we really look for is who’s spending time on what particular parts of what particular document.”
“As campaigns are going, part of the alignment process needs to be making sure that any insights and information regarding genuine engagement are filtered down to sales. Make sure that those real-time metrics are being transparently shared across the company so that you’re making the most of what you’re learning.”
For a guide to tracking ABM engagement, check out this previous Cognism article!
5. What is the secret to aligning successfully with sales and the business?
Our panellists agreed that this is the most important part of any ABM campaign.
“Getting buy-in from internal stakeholders, first and foremost, is absolutely essential. Set realistic expectations - you need to secure a budget from the company for your ABM campaign. Be aware that it’s a long-term campaign. ABM is not a short-term revenue grab. Avoid the pitfall of failing from the get-go by setting realistic expectations.”
“However long your stages of delivery for ABM are, the final step should be: measure, learn, optimise and repeat. It’s not a set and forget program. ABM is a living, breathing thing, so it will change. It takes time. If you want revenue tomorrow, ABM is not the program for you.”
6. What are your top tips for success?
We asked our ABM experts for their number one tip for ABM success.
“If sales don’t understand why ABM is happening and the process and steps that a lead has gone through to be classified as a marketing-qualified or sales-qualified lead...then there’s no importance placed on it. If sales understand what is happening and why, they’re much more likely to jump on those leads and close them. It should be seen as a joint effort to close that lead.”
“Start small and get an understanding of what you want to achieve.”
“ABM is not just multi-channel marketing, it’s best practice marketing. But there’s more to it than just using multiple channels. It’s about treating the accounts you’re going after as markets in their own right. There’s no better resource for a marketer to learn more about accounts than their own internal sales team and customer success team.”
Find out more from Cognism
Want to learn more from this ABM discussion? You’ll find the full webinar recording and accompanying slides here: