B2B Data

The Real World in ABM: Five Lessons Learned by a Marketing Ops Pro at Cotiviti

February 2, 2022

8 mins read

The Real World in ABM: Five Lessons Learned by a Marketing Ops Pro at Cotiviti

The Real World in ABM: Five Lessons Learned by a Marketing Ops Pro at Cotiviti

The struggle of being responsible for the marketing efforts of a large company with a small team is all-too-familiar to many. Yet few of the ones who manage to do it successfully take the time to share their experience and learnings with those who could use the guidance.

But that’s not the case with Keyonda Noel. As the Director of Marketing Operations for Cotiviti, a healthcare analytics company and Demandbase customer, Keyonda –– a fierce account-based marketing (ABM) advocate –– held nothing back for “The Real World: ABM – 5 Lessons Learned,” a webinar where she shared all of her insights as a marketing leader with great responsibilities.

The role 

In her day-to-day, Keyonda is accountable for building a foundation of excellence by reinforcing Cotiviti’s marketing strategy with metrics, process infrastructure, and best practices. Her company’s leadership team has entrusted her with ensuring the efficiency, effectiveness, and cross-functional coordination of outreach campaigns, deploying ABM, the company’s marketing technology, reporting, and analytics.

With over 15 years of experience across B2B and B2C, Keyonda is undeniably passionate about sharing lessons learned along the way, hoping they reach those who are just getting started in their marketing journeys. With that said, the amount of relevant insights she shared makes this webinar useful even for seasoned ABM leaders.

Without further ado, here are Keyonda’s lessons learned in the real world of ABM.

1. Why ABM and why now?

For large enterprises, Keyonda and her team can attest that deploying ABM is no longer a question of if, but when. During the webinar, Keyonda shared ITSMA’s 2021 B2B Marketing Trends Survey, which revealed that in 2021 the number one priority for marketing leaders was ABM. In the same study, 72 percent of respondents said ABM delivers higher ROI than other types of marketing. The study also recorded that 70 percent of ABM principles influence the way we go to market today.

Why ABM at Cotiviti? 

For Keyonda, there are three reasons to prioritize ABM at Cotiviti:

  • Marketing efficiency: Align marketing and sales. These teams become more efficient when focused on a defined universe. This is even more palpable now through Covid-19’s impact.
  • Sales wins: Prioritize accounts based on buying signals.
  • Pipeline accelerations: Shorten the time it takes for a client or prospect to move from interested to signing on the dotted line.

“To deliver on pipeline acceleration, you have to have orchestration between the marketing and sales teams.”

Keyonda Noel

Director of Marketing Operations, Cotiviti

Employ the power of crawl, walk, run

We’ve covered the importance of our phased approach to ABM that we like to call “Crawl, Walk, Run.” For Keyonda and her team at Cotiviti, this was critical to their implementation strategy. “You can’t do everything at once,” notes Keyonda. “Sometimes, you need to take steps back to move forward.”

Despite being familiar with Demandbase software since July of 2019, Keyonda admits that it’s imperative to remain curious and continue learning about ABM principles and best practices. Her team is steadfast on training consistently to stay on top of new releases and capabilities that enable them to do their jobs well. Timeline Description automatically generated

Although it might look like a smooth, linear journey, Keyonda says it’s important to remember that ABM takes time. The methodology is meant to be taken one activity at a time, measuring results along the way and modifying approaches where needed. ABM requires curiosity and patience. And one more hot tip: Celebrate the small wins.

2. Talent and technology are must-haves

With a small team managing lots of moving parts, Keyonda was candid in sharing that they would be limited in their impact without their MarTech. Although the solutions, systems or applications may be different for each company, the purpose and functionality required to be effective remain the same.

There are six key functions your MarTech should help you optimize:

  • Collaboration: How are you planning on communicating within the organization and staying on track? (e.g., Google docs, Dropbox)
  • Research: How are you observing and analyzing user interactions? How are they engaging with the organization? Insights into account behavior. (e.g., Demandbase One, Google Analytics, LinkedIn)
  • Content, SEO and personalization: How are you claiming to solve the problems of the clients and prospects? What is your value proposition? What are you saying to the market? How are you differentiating your organization? (e.g., SEM Rush, Google Search “Console, Adobe Creative Suite, Uberflip)
  • Engagement: How are you reaching your audiences? This is Marketing 101. Webinars, on-demand content. (e.g., Social media channels, Demandbase One, On24)
  • Metrics and insights: Without data, it’s impossible to measure impact. Data also makes it possible to track those KPIs your team and leadership are after. (e.g., Google Analytics, Demandbase One, SEM Rush)
  • Nurturing: How are you nurturing the clients and prospects in the pipeline? How are you supporting that continued engagement across the spectrum? (e.g., HubSpot, Demandbase One)
Building an all-star ABM team

When studying ABM, Keyonda came across a rowing analogy to illustrate the way a marketing team works to deploy a winning strategy.

Although for spectators, rowing may give the impression that participants are all doing the exact same thing, they’re not. Every seat on the boat has its own assigned duty and strategic action that helps pull the team closer to their goal. Everyone rows together, going in one direction. Even with different skill sets and responsibilities, the team comes together towards one single goal, and in the case of a marketing team, the goals are to find opportunities for the sales team and contribute to the organization’s growth.

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Bonus tip from Keyonda: “Identify ABM evangelists within your organization –– executives and sales leaders who can vouch for the solution and results so that everyone else is eager to get on board.”

3. Get alignment: coach, communication, and collaboration

Teamwork makes the dream work is one of Keyonda’s favorite phrases, especially because making ABM work requires complete alignment from everyone involved in the buyer’s journey. The team leaders in your organization should meet not just to plan your strategy, but also to define:

  • Target accounts: Who matters and why. It’s not only about looking over the list of target accounts, but knowing why they matter.
  • Goals: What are you trying to accomplish? Everyone needs to be clear and on the same page (e.g., drive awareness, grow pipeline, cross-sell/upsell).
  • Definition of success: Based on the goals that were established, what are the success metrics that should be aligned with each goal? It’s important to ensure all teams agree on one central definition of what they will consider a successful campaign deployment.
  • Marketing tactic: The approach used should correspond with the goal, and the go-to-market strategy should be aligned with the defined target accounts and personas they are for.
  • Follow-up: How will you continue to engage key accounts and contacts and move them along the buying journey? Ensure that the momentum you build doesn’t go to waste and that you nurture each of the target accounts.
Aligning across the organization

Although this might look different for every company or team director, Keyonda outlined the following efforts as a winning formula for her team at Cotiviti:

  • Involve your ABM team from the beginning
  • Socialize your strategy end-to-end
  • Report your results to all team members
  • Educate your team on the process and the value of ABM

Real world alignment is all about getting the right data to the right people, at the right time.

4. Show and tell: build reports that matter (and how to be prescriptive for sales)

The way that Keyonda and the Cotiviti team have managed their approach to leveraging data to yield actionable insights and ensure alignment throughout the organization revolves around three pillars:

  • Intent → ABM platform
  • Engagement → MAS
  • Pipeline → CRM

Metaphorically, the pillars are all key instruments in an orchestra where Keyonda is the conductor. Prior to Demandbase One, Cotiviti used to run this reporting manually and pulled all the data from each source separately. After the deployment, the team automated many processes, and they can now upload their data seamlessly to extract actionable insights.

5. Real-world case study

To illustrate how Keyonda and her marketing team at Cotiviti launched their enterprise brand awareness advertising campaign, look at the webinar video starting at the 33:03 mark. Hear directly from Keyonda on her experience going from the strategy planning of the campaign all the way to the campaign optimization based on the reporting and metrics they were able to leverage along the way.

The future

Keyonda and her marketing team at Cotiviti have a clear plan for the short and long term with specific ambitions for themselves, as well as for the greater organization. With optimized orchestration initiatives and the tools within Demandbase One at their disposal, there’s no limit to what Cotiviti’s marketing outreach can accomplish as they seek to share the differentiated value Cotiviti can provide.

I am so grateful to Keyonda for her partnership in this webinar, her candor in sharing her experiences, and her commitment to helping others understand what it takes to run a successful ABM program –– especially with limited resources.

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