5 B2B Marketers Share their Account-Based Marketing Journey

The ABM Meetups were launched to provide a forum for B2B marketing peers to discuss their challenges and best practices and to establish a community of sales and marketing professionals working together to get the most out of their ABM strategies. True to their purpose, the first round of Meetup panels have featured a diverse group of B2B professionals representing varied industries, company sizes, and ABM maturity, who were able to provide Meetup attendees with thoughtful, insightful commentary on their successes as well as lessons learned. We’ve collected a few of our favorite Q&A’s from those gatherings here:

Q: Sales and marketing alignment is often identified as one of the key tenets of a successful ABM strategy but also one of the most challenging. Please speak to the status of this relationship in your organization. High fives? Cold shoulders?

“At Sailthru, Marketing, Sales Development, and Sales are all one team. That’s not just hyperbole — we sit together, share the same goals, celebrate wins together, and learn from any missed opportunity together. Even with the close-knit nature of how we operate, Marketing doesn’t just launch programs across every region. We create pilot programs that are managed by sub-committees with representatives from each arm of our commercial org. These aren’t just a bunch of VPs getting together to “think” — it’s the members of the team actually in the trenches who are guiding the programs. The approach has multiple benefits: 1) we get the data we need to shift a program before launching globally; 2) we create advocates within Sales; and 3) we further the connection we have across the team. We took this approach with ABM and have done so with a number of other initiatives so that we now have Sales team members asking to be a part of our marketing “betas” rather than tension existing between the teams.”

Jason Grunberg, VP, Marketing, Sailthru (NYC ABM Meetup)

“Sales and marketing alignment is key to ABM (or what I like to call ABR – Account Based Revenue). This isn’t just about marketing, both teams need to collaborate and work as one to make the strategy successful. At my organization, we are in the early stages of our formal ABR plan, but we’re working to make sure that alignment is even better than before. Personalization is a major component for us and making sure that you are following up with a unique message to all prospects is what makes it successful. The message doesn’t need to be different for each email, but it should be tweaked to make it personal to the recipient. Getting the information needed to personalize messages requires teamwork between sales and marketing.”

Sharon DiStase, VP Demand Generation, Billtrust (NYC ABM Meetup)

Q: Can you speak to an example of an area of ABM where you’ve seen success? Opportunities for continued improvement?

“We’ve had a lot of cool advertising campaigns, using A/B tests, interactivity, video and have seen a lot of lift. Our most successful campaign was the “Meet Your Account Manager” Campaign. We create a very personal video for each of our Account Managers that we sent out to each of their accounts. We also used these video in ABM advertising/retargeting so that if a customer engaged in our first set of customer-focused advertising, they would then see a personalized banner ad that said “Company, thanks for being a customer of Brightcove. Meet your Account Director/Manager.” That banner took them to the video which had personalization and interactive elements. The video resulted in  200 meetings for our Account Management team.” Continued areas of growth for our team include leveraging Google Analytics (GA) and potential ABM webinars.

Rose Morabito, Digital Campaign Manager, Brightcove (Boston ABM Meetup)

“When we look back on successful deals, the accounts that were part of an account-based program usually had an initial  contract value that was 2 or 3X higher than those accounts that were not part of a program. I believe that little things add up in a major way – better account intelligence creates to more strategic conversations, tailored messages from our own senior executives kept us engaged with senior executives across the process, marketing’s help on custom decks showed that we really wanted the client’s business and automated triggers from marketing programs let us know when a buying window might be approaching.”

Joe Bisagna, CEO, Brass Ring Sales (NY ABM Meetup)

How did you put your target account list together? Who was involved in the process?

“As an agency, we see so many clients with an account list but typically this list is built by sales and usually based on two factors:
Interrogating their CRM to identify the makeup of their existing closed won deals. This information is then used to fuel a new list e.g. 1,000+ in Finance. Use case based. If the sales team sold to a fintech organization then all fintech companies are ready to buy. This is a great starting point but has lots of potential problems and can lead to problems later down the line that lead to an ABM strategy being deemed as unsuccessful. What happens if you’ve only ever sold a particular product to your accounts and you’re trying to pivot to become a solution based organization? Historical data will lead you down the wrong path. Also, just because you sold to a Fintech company how do you know all other Fintech companies are in the same headspace and at the same stage of the buying cycle? We use the sales insight above but enrich it with 3rd party data sources such as intent and predictive analytics to tell clients how many of their companies ‘care’ about what they have to sell and secondly, the ones that have the highest propensity to buy based on historical sales. Merging these two data sets can lead to in-depth account segmentation.”

Ricky Abbott, Marketing & Strategy Director, Pulse Communications (London ABM Meetup)

Interested in getting involved with the Account-Based Marketing Meetups?  There are lots of ways to participate.  You can become a member, host an event, lend your support as a sponsor, suggest topics or even speak on a panel.  Learn more HERE and join the conversation!