Every January, I kick off my new year in a similar way. As an Enterprise Sales Rep, my focus turns towards reviewing my performance, finding opportunities for improvement and thinking of ways to collaborate to drive more revenue. There’s a lot to consider, especially since at Demandbase, we incorporate an Account-Based Marketing (ABM) approach deeply into our Sales and Marketing strategy. Ultimately, that means I’m able to impact productivity in more areas of the lifecycle than the average rep.
Some sales people hear about ABM and are concerned that it prevents them from being “opportunistic” in working deals. An ABM approach is not limiting at all. Instead, it helps me to focus on the companies that meet the criteria of our “sweet spot” – in other words, the types of companies to whom we provide the most business value. Many of my peers at other companies are curious about what this ABM process/strategy looks like across the funnel and whether it actually works in driving more deals. It’s absolutely a strategy I’ve grown to appreciate, and it goes something like this…
What companies should be on the list?
To begin, I work with our demand gen team to build our target account list. That process involves a lot more than hanging out in a room and throwing out ideas. In fact, we don’t guess about which accounts we think would fit certain qualifications, we use data such as: Do these companies own “x” technologies? Which industries are most successful with our solutions? What firmographic attributes, such as size, location, etc. are most likely to define our ideal customers? From there, we score each company to ensure we’re spending all our marketing and sales dollars on attracting the companies with the highest propensity to do business with us. Once the list is developed and a commitment to Marketing and Sales collaboration is established, ABM can manifest in different ways across different stages of the funnel.
Attracting the right accounts
Our marketing team takes a few approaches with attracting the right companies – one being our own Account-Based Advertising, which gives us the ability to only spend dollars on advertising to our target accounts. The second is the targeted approach our field marketing team uses to create “in territory” events and activities to engage those target accounts, which worked beautifully in collaboration with our inbound personalization strategy. Having that type of support is every sales person’s dream for filling the pipe.
Engaging them on the website
We personalize the message on our .com site to engage target accounts in lockstep with the outbound activities (webinars, tradeshows, events, etc.) that we’re doing in the field. The communication and collaboration between Marketing and Sales was evident in the execution.
Converting them to opportunities and revenue
Working closely with my Sales Development Rep (SDR), we focused on getting appointments with companies most likely to buy on our target list. Whether the lead came in off our website, through an event, or my networking efforts, we stayed laser-focused on the accounts that had the highest probability to do business with us.
Measuring the results
Finally, like every sales rep, I look at key metrics: MQL to SAL, SAL to OPPTY and of course, OPPTY to close. This year, we refreshed our target account list with new data and saw immediately how valuable that list was to our efforts. What validated the approach was the huge percentage of MQLs among target accounts vs non-target accounts – it was an 110% difference. My SAL to Pipeline rates were 14% higher for my target accounts, and the numbers just kept getting better down the pipe. I also noticed that my average deal size increased by 95% in target accounts vs. non-targets that closed. The results were exciting!
I understand why at first, ABM might seem like more trouble than it’s worth. But the results were impressive! It didn’t take long for me to see how our ABM strategy enables me and my marketing team to focus on the companies with the highest propensity to close, execute synchronously and most importantly, close more deals.