Insights and Best Practices for Building Successful ABM Programs
ABM/ABX 06.15.2023

Insights and Best Practices for Building Successful ABM Programs

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In this episode of Sunny Side Up, host Jordan Saucedo interviews Clint Buechler, a demand generation manager with experience in SaaS, FinTech, payments, and real estate. They discuss the importance of combining product marketing and demand generation roles to create a successful ABM program. Clint shares his insights on setting up the data structure, analytics, and testing for success. He also provides segmentation tips, leveraging tools such as chatbots for audience list building and competition monitoring, using firmographic, demographic, and technographic data, and integration partners to segment accounts. Additionally, he suggests looking at LinkedIn ads impressions and job titles when setting up campaigns to capture demand. Finally, they discuss the need for sales engagement and getting buy-in from sales and marketing teams as well as finding product-market fit and having the right message for the right audience at the right time. 

About the Guest

Clint Buechler leads Demand Generation for Branch, which helps businesses compete for workers by enabling instant payments and other financial services with easy-to-launch solutions. With experience in SaaS, Fintech, Payments, and Real Estate, he’s spent his career in B2B marketing building solutions that grow with scale. 

As Demand Generation Manager, Clint works closely with Branch’s sales and marketing teams to develop and implement lead generation strategies, campaigns, and ABM programs.

Connect with Clint Buechler

Key Takeaways

  • Product marketing and demand generation are two closely related roles.
  • Product marketing is responsible for creating and communicating the value proposition of a product.
  • Demand generation is responsible for generating leads and driving awareness for a product.
  • The two roles work together to create a successful marketing strategy.
  • Clint’s approach to ABM is data-driven and focused on personalization.
  • He uses data to identify his target accounts and create personalized marketing campaigns.
  • Clint believes that ABM is the most effective way to reach and engage with high-value accounts.
  • It is important to evaluate your accounts regularly to ensure that they are still a good fit for your business.
  • You can evaluate your accounts by looking at factors such as their size, industry, and growth potential.
  • If you find that an account is no longer a good fit, you should consider removing it from your list.
  • Segmenting your accounts can help you to target your marketing efforts more effectively.
  • You can segment your accounts by factors such as their size, industry, and stage in the buying process.
  • By targeting your marketing efforts more effectively, you can improve your chances of success.
  • Sales and marketing alignment is critical to the success of any ABM program.
  • Sales and marketing need to work together to define their target accounts, develop messaging that resonates with those accounts, and create a coordinated sales and marketing motion.
  • When sales and marketing are aligned, they can generate more leads, close more deals, and drive more revenue. 
  • Personalization is key to reaching and engaging target accounts.
  • ABM programs need to be personalized to the specific needs and interests of the target accounts.
  • When ABM programs are personalized, they are more likely to be successful.


“ABM is not going to be a lead driver. It is engagement, those are the metrics you’re going to track. That is essential to like having a really good ABM program right off the bat.” –Clint Buechler

Highlights from the Episode

Could you share with our listeners a little bit about your background, particularly in the field of marketing automation?

Clint has a diverse background in marketing automation. He began by specializing in email journeys, nurtures, and automation within Pardot, gaining expertise in connecting systems with Salesforce. He later took on product marketing responsibilities, successfully launching new products and enhancing customer intelligence. Clint then transitioned back to demand generation, focusing on messaging hubs, competitor takedowns, and executing campaigns. His extensive experience in marketing automation enables him to excel in building comprehensive inbound and outbound programs for effective lead generation and customer engagement.

Can you share insights on your extensive product marketing experience, given your amusement at the combination of “Pardot” and “fun,” and also dive into that particular area?

Clint, with his extensive product marketing experience, expressed his delight in the unexpected blend of “Pardot” and “fun.” During his time at Sack, he served as the sole product marketing manager and oversaw a series of acquisitions, incorporating complementary products into their offerings.

Initially focused on feature launches and project management, Clint’s role expanded as the company grew. He took on the challenge of developing messaging strategies, competing with new players, and executing cross-selling campaigns. The experience was immensely enjoyable, leading to team expansion and successful product launches.

Can you provide examples of situations where you had to embrace challenges and adapt despite limited resources and uncertain outcomes in your business journey?

Clint Buechler has faced numerous situations in his business journey where he had to embrace challenges and adapt despite limited resources and uncertain outcomes. According to him, one approach is to focus on extensive testing and pay meticulous attention to detail. Throughout his experiences, Clint has learned the importance of continually seeking a product-market fit, even when it doesn’t align with initial expectations.

One significant learning opportunity arose when Clint was involved with selling to the higher education system during his time at Form Staff. He discovered that navigating the purchasing processes of large universities, with their satellite campuses and various internal organizations, was a daunting task. Mapping out these complex structures and configuring their salesforce organization to effectively handle the data proved to be a substantial challenge. This experience provided valuable insights into product marketing and account-based marketing (ABM), particularly in terms of setting up CRM systems and data structures that enable actionable insights. As Clint transitioned across industries and changed his approach to selling to companies, he encountered situations where he had to quickly adapt and make decisions on the fly. This often involved working with spreadsheets and finding temporary solutions to house important data. He describes this phase as a thrilling time where he had to take action, learn on the go, and construct the metaphorical car while driving down the highway.

How do the roles of product marketing and demand generation align, considering your transition into a demand gen role at Branch?

Clint sees a perfect alignment between product marketing and demand generation. In his transition to a demand gen role at Branch, Clint emphasizes that product marketing involves theory and documentation, while demand generation puts those ideas into action with metrics and data. He enjoys the hands-on nature of demand gen and believes that combining both roles strengthens the relationship between product marketers and demand gen specialists. The exchange of data and insights fuels the execution of new strategies and enhances messaging.

What is your current approach to ABM? When it comes to setting up a successful ABM program from scratch in an organization, what are the steps involved?

Clint takes a data-driven approach to ABM. He begins by ensuring proper data setup for account-level focus. Next, he analyzes successful areas and collaborates with the sales team. He looks for organizations entering new categories or with complex sales cycles. In the current economic climate, finding quick wins is crucial. Clint’s ABM approach involves data analysis, account-level setup, identifying success areas, collaboration, and quick wins.

Can you explain how your account evaluation process works and provide tips or suggestions for our listeners who may be new to this approach?

Clint emphasizes the importance of audience building in the account evaluation process for effective account-based marketing. He advises starting by identifying areas of success and leveraging insights from the sales team. Clint recommends using a DSP or AI tool to generate a target account list based on specific criteria. He also suggests creating a control list for comparison. By tracking inbound traffic and engagement metrics, you can evaluate the performance of your targeted audience and measure the effectiveness of personalized messaging.

Have you ever experienced panic when evaluating your list of accounts after a few months? If so, how did you handle it? And if not, is there a point where it’s too early to panic in such situations?

Clint admitted experiencing panic when evaluating his list of accounts after a few months. To handle it, he emphasized analyzing data, early preparation, building targeting audiences, and creating “always on” campaigns. Clint advised promptly gathering stakeholders, presenting data-backed findings, and pivoting based on the results. He stressed the importance of not waiting too long to make adjustments, as every day wasted meant inefficient resource allocation. Acting swiftly was key to optimizing performance and achieving better outcomes.

Is finding a balance between limited budgets and high expectations valuable advice in today’s marketing landscape? How important is it to avoid wasting the budget while giving enough time for results? Are you using ChatGPT in your ABM strategies, and if so, what cautions would you share for those who might become overreliant on it?

Clint believes that finding a balance between limited budgets and high expectations is valuable in today’s marketing landscape. He emphasizes the importance of avoiding budget wastage while giving enough time for results. Branch uses ChatGPT in their ABM strategies, but Clint cautions against overreliance on it. He advises combining AI tools like ChatGPT with human expertise for a comprehensive marketing approach.

Are there other strategies that you’re using maybe outside of AI, to have the proper segmentation?

Clint typically employs various strategies beyond AI to ensure proper segmentation. He considers a range of firmographic, demographic, and technographic data points when identifying accounts. He believes it is essential to have easily accessible and scalable techniques to drive organizational growth. According to him, working with smaller data points that are less readily available can be extremely challenging. Therefore, he primarily relies on firmographic and demographic data, industries, and technology partners to lay the foundation. 

During his tenure at Formstack, he prioritized integration partners such as Salesforce and Conga, recognizing their compatibility and potential for collaboration. Clint acknowledges the existence of scrapers and similar tools that can aid in compiling segmented lists, and he often leverages such resources to initiate the segmentation process.

Do intelligent ABM businesses often analyze both buying signals and the organization’s internal workings through technographic-based data to identify potential synergies and beneficial relationships?

Clint believes that intelligent ABM businesses often analyze both buying signals and the organization’s internal workings through technographic-based data to identify potential synergies and beneficial relationships. According to Clint, it is crucial to utilize an inbound function to capture the demand being created. He has personally employed strategies such as examining the companies served by his LinkedIn ads and evaluating impressions to target different LinkedIn groups or job titles. Clint also emphasizes the importance of gathering data points from sources like events and identifying visiting accounts on LinkedIn within the desired industry. He suggests downloading and building a list based on these data points offline, which can later be uploaded into the system and segmented for the effective running of campaigns.

What advice would you give to marketers who have their list and budget ready and are looking to put it into action, considering the challenges of effectively targeting their audience in ABM?

Clint believes that marketers who have their list and budget ready and are looking to implement it in ABM face challenges in effectively targeting their audience. When asked for advice, Clint suggests starting with measurable channels to prove the effectiveness of their strategies. He emphasizes the importance of finding channels that provide measurable data points, such as paid ads that offer click-through rates. Additionally, Clint recommends exploring other channels like direct mailing or gifting and utilizing tools like QR codes or personalized URLs to track inbound responses.

Clint emphasizes the need to understand the impact of ad dollars from the beginning of the process. Once marketers determine that their efforts are successful and generating engagement, they can consider expanding their campaigns to include larger, more brand-focused initiatives. This may involve participating in significant events and taking calculated brand risks to increase their name recognition and drive impressions. By doing so, marketers can gain confidence in their strategies and make more impactful moves in the future.

What are some ABM best practices that you have observed in your career as an ABM individual or in implementing ABM strategies that you would like to share with your peers and our listeners?

Clint has observed several ABM best practices throughout his career as an ABM professional and in implementing ABM strategies. According to Clint, it is crucial not to approach ABM as a one-size-fits-all solution that will magically solve all problems. He emphasizes the importance of being transparent internally and effectively communicating emotions and expectations from the very beginning.

Clint also stresses the significance of establishing a common understanding of ABM among team members, as different individuals may have varying definitions of ABM. Leveling the playing field by aligning everyone’s understanding and expectations is essential for a successful ABM program.

Furthermore, Clint advocates for a comprehensive approach as accounts progress through the sales funnel. He advises against prematurely scaling back marketing and sales efforts once an account reaches the MQL stage or engages with content. Instead, he suggests intensifying the marketing efforts with targeted ads, direct mail, gifting, and other strategies to further nurture the account. 

What steps do you take to accelerate and secure a potential customer who is already interested in your business?

Clint takes several steps to accelerate and secure a potential customer who has already shown interest in his business. First, he conducts a thorough analysis of the account and reviews existing contacts associated with it. Based on their decision-making titles, which have been identified through their Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) research, Clint includes these contacts in an email nurture campaign. 

This enables the sales team to increase engagement and perform lead grading. Contacts with a lower grade (C or D) are included in the email nurture campaign, while those with higher scores based on their interaction with the emails are given priority. Once an account reaches an A or B grade, indicating a warm lead, it is passed on to the sales team. This handoff occurs when the account has shown enough engagement to suggest readiness for further sales engagement. Clint also engages in self-prospecting by targeting accounts within the same metropolitan area as trade shows or events his team attends. He identifies accounts that are not yet qualified but show potential interest (NQA) and invites them to join his team for dinner or prospect meetings during the event. 

This approach leverages the presence of salespeople who are already attending these conferences, allowing for a highly personalized touch and fostering stronger connections with potential customers. Clint also initiates a gifting motion, incorporating the gesture of sending thoughtful gifts to prospects, and he emphasizes in-person events as opportunities for deeper engagement.

Can you share your experiences particularly when there were differences in how sales and marketing were interpreting the data? How critical is this aspect to the overall success of an ABM program?

Clint understands the importance of aligning sales and marketing interpretations of data. Sales engagement plays a vital role in turning data into tangible results. The common mistake is expecting leads to magically appear, but true success lies in collaboration and utilizing data effectively. Clint emphasizes the need to showcase early wins, such as account engagement metrics, to both teams. By providing clear direction on supported accounts, sales reps can focus their efforts and achieve better outcomes. This guidance fosters excitement and motivates sales reps to prospect effectively within an ABM program.

Can you share any instances where your ABM programs started to click and generate enthusiasm and energy? How did you prioritize efforts, identify successful outreach methodologies, and find individuals who may not reach the President’s Club but still excel in their roles?

Clint shared a successful instance of their ABM programs clicking and generating enthusiasm. They focused on metropolitan regions in the rental market, initially encountering failure due to incorrect messaging. However, after adjusting their messaging and personalizing their approach, they saw significant success, doubling their meeting bookings. This led them to expand their campaigns to different cities, prioritizing efforts based on localized strategies and identifying individuals who excelled in their roles.

How can you replicate your success in markets where you haven’t had previous experience or success?

Clint’s approach to replicating success in unfamiliar markets involves finding product-market fit, running wide initially, and gradually narrowing down strategies based on data. He emphasizes the importance of personalized marketing, incremental changes, and focusing on what works while documenting challenges for future improvements.

Is there a book, blog, newsletter, website, or video that you would recommend to our listeners?

A blog


Ashley WelshCo-founder at Shaker

Chris LucasCEO & Co-founder at Shaker

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Sunny Side Up

B2B podcast for, Smarter GTM™

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