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Hi everyone. Thanks so much for that introduction Graham. Appreciate it. And thanks everyone on the line for joining our webinar today. Looking forward to sharing our perspective on Account Based Marketing today. I’m going to start off with a quick overview of what ABM is and why marketers like you should consider it in your organization.
I’ll review the 5 critical steps you need to follow to successfully execute an ABM initiative.
And then my co-presenter Heidi Bullock will take over and walk you through some specific Marketo examples.
Finally, we’ll close off with some thoughts on measuring your ABM programs.
Hopefully that sounds good.
Let’s start first with a definition of account based marketing. There’s a lot of discussion about it recently. And depending on who you listen to and what the interests of the speaker are, you’ll get a different definition. Our goal today is to give you a very unbiased, complete view of ABM and give you some practical tips and tricks you can use to implement a complete ABM initiative in your organization.
Very broadly speaking, at a high level, ABM is as a strategic approach to sales and marketing in which you focus your sales and marketing resources on a specific set of high-value accounts, and tailor your messaging and campaigns to resonate with each account.
You’re basing your marketing message on the specific characteristics of each account. Hence the name Account Based Marketing.
ABM is about personalization and it’s also about taking a very account-focused view of the world.
To illustrate the point further. Let’s compare ABM to traditional B2B marketing.
Traditional B2B marketing is often done in a broad reaching way – which you see depicted visually on the left side here. Most marketers try to get their word out….as far and wide as possible…. by leveraging a bunch of different marketing channels: from their website, to email to paid ads, earned media and on and on.
And they try to put out as much content as possible across these channels: eBooks, whitepapers, videos, case studies, bylined articles and so on. That broad reaching approach describes most of the modern B2B marketing we see today. The hope for these marketers is that by casting a very wide net, as far and as wide as possible, and by putting out as much content as possible out the world, that it will act as a big huge marketing magnet and draw in a huge number of leads into your funnel. And of course, the more leads you have at the top of the funnel, the more wins you’ll generate at the bottom of the funnel. It’s all about going after a large swath of your buying market with a loud voice, and maximizing the volume of leads that go through the funnel.
On the other hand, ABM is in many ways the opposite. It’s about getting all your resources - your program dollars AND your people (including your sales and marketing teams) - working together in a coordinated way to go after very specific accounts. It’s not about amplifying your voice across a wide swath of the market. It’s about taking a very direct approach to engage very specific target accounts.
Hopefully that gives you a sense for how different these approaches can be. They are fundamentally different.
But it’s also important to understand, that one approach isn’t necessarily better than the other…. They are simply two different approaches. And depending on the dynamics of your business, one approach might make more sense than the other.
Let’s take a look at an example of that.
Many of you are probably familiar with the company Intuit. They’re a $23B company. Been around for a long time. They’ve got a bunch of products. One of their most popular is called Quickbooks. Which is a super successful business for them. They claim about 85% of the small business accounting software market- with 3.7M quickbooks customers around the world. That’s a huge number of business customers.
Now in their case, Quickbooks customers are paying less than $500/ year for their software. So they’ve got a pretty low price point relative to other business products, and they’re hoping millions and millions of small businesses out there will use their products. It’s a volume based business at the end of the day and they need to go after large groups of customers to succeed as a business.
On the other hand let’s go super extreme to the other side of the spectrum just to illustrate the point - and take Technetics Group out of Columbia South Carolina. They make a very specialized product meant for a very SMALL number of potential buyers. They make high-pressure seals for nuclear reactors.
Now if you are a potential buyer of these seals, you’ve got a more interesting life than I do! I can tell you right now, nuclear reactor pressure seals are not something I will ever buy – nor will anyone I know!!!
And Technetics knows I’m not their buyer. They know exactly who their potential buyers are, probably by name. So while for Intuit it does make sense to go with a broad reaching marketing strategy, for Technetics it doesn’t make sense. You probably won’t see them putting out a lot of content or ads on billboards, or the web or on social networks to try and draw in leads.
They’re going to target a very specific set of buyers with their marketing and sales effort and they’re going to be very focused in how they approach those buyers. They’re the perfect candidate for ABM.
Okay, so these are 2 extremes just to illustrate a point. But the fact is, your company probably lies somewhere in the middle. And the good news is that ABM now makes sense for a lot of companies that aren’t on either extreme, including Marketo and maybe yours too.
And that’s partly because the cost of ABM is coming down quickly. ABM has been around for a long time. But it has always been expensive and very resource intensive to implement. So you couldn’t really do it at scale, and it didn’t make much sense for low price point products. So it was limited to companies like Technetics.
But all of that is changing quickly. And that’s because there are new technologies available that can support the various steps in the ABM process. So that now, it’s more economical and feasible for marketers to apply to more business situations than ever before.
It still may not make sense for the Quickbooks situation. But it’s certainly applicable to many marketers now who are marketing products that are 10-20K dollars or more. And it doesn’t have to be a market with just 5 or 10 potential buyers anymore. You can now target hundreds, even thousands of potential customers with an ABM strategy.
We’re leveraging ABM here at Marketo for instance in our mid market and enterprise market segments where we have thousands of target prospect accounts and we’re doing it all with the help of the latest marketing technology.
[pause] Okay, so we know the cost of ABM is coming down and we know it can be applied to more and more scenarios – even at scale. But is it really effective?
Well ultimately any marketing initiative can only be considered effective if it delivers a healthy ROI.
Well, the good news for ABM fans is that the ROI can be VERY high. ITSMA did a survey last year and found that ABM delivers the highest ROI of any B2B marketing strategy or tactic”.
And another organization, the Altera Group, backed up those claims. They found that 97% of those surveyed feel that ABM delivers as high or higher ROI than other marketing initiatives.
And 84% say it provides significant benefits for those focused on retention and upsell. That’s an important stat to understand and it highlights the point that ABM is not just for acquisition but can be used to generate more value from your customer base as well.
Okay, so hopefully we’re all on the same page now about what ABM is…..how it’s defined…. when to use it, …..and that it can be very effective for many marketers.
Now, I’d like to go into how we execute our ABM initiative here at Marketo.
Let’s start first with an overview of the 5 critical steps involved. We’ll go into each of these in a minute but I thought it would help to see them all in one spot, quickly, before we go through them. Here are the steps:
First thing you’ll want to do is identify the accounts you’d like to target. That’s a fairly obvious one right – you can’t do full blown account based marketing if you don’t know who the accounts are that you’re targeting. We’ll talk about how to do that in a minute.
Then 2nd, you’ll want to map those accounts to better understand which divisions are the right ones to target? What challenges is the account facing as a business? How are decisions made in the organization, and who makes them? That sort of information is critical to an effective ABM initiative.
3rd– you’ll want to make sure you have a library of effective content and messaging that you think will resonate with the target accounts. That’s a big topic we’ll touch on later.
4th – you’ll need to execute cross-channel campaigns, targeting the right people in your target accounts…and leveraging the personalized content you pulled together in step 3. And you’ll need to do that in tight coordination with sales, because remember ABM is really a joint effort between sales and marketing.
And 5– as with any good marketing initiative – you’ll want to measure and analyze your results so that you can optimize your campaigns over time. We’ll go over some of the key metrics we look at here at Marketo later as well.
But let’s start going through these in order, starting with account identification.
A lot of companies struggle with this. They think – well how should I define my list of target accounts? How should I prioritize them?
Well, you can consider a number of different things, but here are a handful of important factors you should consider in making your selection:
#1 is yield or profitability. In almost every market there are low profitability customers and there are high profitability customers. It’s important to identify the characteristics that can help you determine if an account is likely to be one of your top money-makers.
As an example, let’s say you are ADP and you sell payrolling services which you charge for by the person. Well in that case your higher yield customers are going to most likely be large ones with more employees so you can use employee size as a determining factor. Or maybe you sell media planning services to advertisers and you charge based on a % of media spend. Well then you probably want to go after the big budget advertisers who spend a lot on media. You get the point. In general, it makes sense to try and target accounts you think will drive your financial health.
#2 is Fit with your product: Look for companies that have business needs that match your offering. The worst thing for you and your customers is if you sell a product or solution to someone who might spend a lot of money but in the long run your solution isn’t the right fit for them. That customer might deliver a lot of revenue at the beginning but over time they will be an expensive customer for you because they’ll need a lot of support OR worse yet, they will leave you as a customer entirely. At the end of the day, your business will be better off if you have customers that are a strong fit with your offering. [pause]
Another great way to know that a company is really in need of your solutions is to look for accounts that are using your competitor’s solutions. These are companies that are going to already be educated about what your offerings are and how they work. And depending on how happy they are with your competitor’s offerings, they might very well be companies that are likely to purchase your products. They can make great target accounts.
And finally #4, whether they are going to be highly profitable or even a great fit with your product, there are some accounts that are super valuable just because of their strategic importance. If you’re trying to sell software to the fast food industry, you better believe that having McDonalds as a customer is going to resonate with the rest of your market. So that’s a logo that has strategic importance in the fast food industry – it’s very very influential - and probably is a customer you want to get.
Every industry has their influential logos and you should consider putting them on your target list for sure. Even if they aren’t individually that profitable, they can start a domino effect that leads to getting many more customers quickly.
Those are some of the factors to consider. But you need the data to support your evaluation of companies and make the call on specific accounts. There are a variety of business data solutions out there today to help with that.
Here are just a few categories.
There are account data providers like LinkedIn, InsideView, D&B and those sorts of companies that can give you firmographic information and business intelligence on different organizations. Maybe you need employee size data or you need to to quickly find all the companies in a particular industry. Maybe you want to know which companies are hiring for specific skillsets that indicate a need for your offerings. There are more business intelligence offerings out there than ever before and they can be incredibly helpfu.
You can go a step further and look at predictive account scoring companies like the ones you see here. These companies typically leverage your historic data – they look at your current customers and their characteristics with a statistical model that can help identify other accounts that are similar and therefore likely to buy from you as well. Each of these vendors has a unique thing or two they bring to the table. There are definitely some interesting offerings among these companies that are worth checking out to help you select target accounts, or even just validate your internal thinking.
And on the right side, I won’t go into all of them but there are a number of more niche-y business intelligence solutions you can leverage that are relevant only to certain industries. In the case of the software industry, there are companies like BuiltWith, Ghostery and Datanyze for instance, that can tell you which organizations are using specific software technologies. So for example, we can leverage these tools here at Marketo to know which companies in the world use specific CRM solutions or specific web analytics tools. If you’re marketing software, that can be really helpful in determining who to target.
And finally, I’ll add that an engagement marketing platform like Marketo can also play a big role in identifying who to target. If you’re using a marketing automation platform like Marketo you can not only use it to engage people across channels, but you can also use it to see which accounts have high engagement with you. And that can be a great way to select target accounts. Let’s say for instance, that we know that 47 people from a large prospect account have visited our website in the past 3 months. Or that 23 people from that same account have also downloaded a recent whitepaper or come to a demo. Well that might be one of the accounts we want to prioritize going into the next sales period. A marketing automation platform can play a big role in target account Identification.
Okay, step 2 after you’ve identified which accounts to target is to “map” them.
The first component of mapping the account is to understand how the account is structured so that you can narrow your focus to the right parts of the organization. Let’s take Intuit as an example again, only this time let’s imagine they’re one of the target accounts that we want to pursue. Parts of their organization are focused on consumer products like TurboTax, while other parts of their org are focused on business products like Quickbooks. Depending on what you might be trying to market and sell to Intuit, this could be a big factor. You might only need to target the consumer products part of their organization for example.
Take it one step further than that and in reality, you’re not even marketing to an account or to a specific division within an account. You’re really going to market individuals. It’s critical to know who the individual people are that you are trying to target within an account or dept. Who are the influencers, the decision makers that will play a role in purchasing your offerings?
You can start with the database you have, or you can also ask Sales to do some of the leg work. You might also outsource this to a 3rd party or use tools like LinkedIn to understand who the key players are. There are a variety of tools and companies that can help you here.
You’ll definitely want to spend some time figuring out which parts of the org you need to target and who the right individuals are to target as well.
Another component of mapping the account is understanding the business dynamics. What is your target account’s business model? How are they doing financially? What are their big business initiatives this year and so on.
It will help validate that they are an account you really should be targeting, and it will also help you figure out how to approach them if you do.
Let’s say for instance that you sell career outplacement services to large employers who are doing layoffs. And let’s say you are targeting a company called Acme Industries that you know is planning a reduction in force in Q4. You might leverage 3rd party business intelligence to find which groups within Acme are going to do the layoffs so that you can target your outplacement offerings to those groups specifically. Or you might find that they are in fact not planning to do the layoffs and you can take them off your target account list since they won’t be needing a lot of outplacement services.
This sort of business intel can be invaluable for an AMB marketer.
There are companies like InsideView that can help, or you can commission custom research to help you understand what’s going on at a target account.
Okay, so now you know which accounts to target, who within those target accounts to focus on, and you have enough intelligence to know what their business challenges are and what messages will resonate with them.
Now we have to make sure we have a compelling set of content that will help them solve their business challenges or address their specific business needs in some way.
Content development is a huge topic and Heidi will go into it a little more in her section.
For now, I’ll just give you a quick overview on this step.
At a high level, you have to make sure you have something to say to audience that positions your organization, your thought leadership and ultimately your offerings in a way that will resonate with the account you’re talking to. You want to speak to their specific business needs and show you understand their industry, their business initiatives, or their unique competitive dynamic for example.
You’ll also want to map content to the different stages of the sales cycle – thought leadership at the top of the funnel and more solution specific content for later stages in the cycle.
And you’ll want to make sure that you map content to the different buyer personas you’re interacting with. For example, as part of your ABM initiative you might need to interact with both the CIO and CFO at a target account. But they will have very different points of view. You’ll need to map specific content to each of your major personas for it to resonate.
I’ll add one more thing. It can sound a little scary to think about all of the content you need to go after accounts and the different personas within them. But it’s important to remember that you have different options when it comes to creating this content. You can create content in your marketing org. Or you might go to the services or sales groups in your company and ask them to contribute to your content library. And of course you can also go outside of the company to your business partners or buy it from 3rd parties like media vendors or analyst firms. Creating the right content can feel daunting but it doesn’t have to be if you tap into all the different sources available to you. [pause]
Okay, great. So we’ve covered the first 3 steps. Now I’m actually going to hand this over to Heidi Bullock to cover step 4.
Thanks Dave! Now that you have identified your accounts – it is time to think about your campaign strategy.
Challenge – they don’t know who you are – need to drive awareness and create brand preference – example here Get them to your website – be personal – RTP + AdBridge examples Have Opt-in Campaign running – ex: invitation to virtual event Engagement – should be multi-channel Get a Meeting Direct mail Field Event Measure Impact
Buyers define their journey You need to have a strategy for these diff phases
Here is an EXAMPLE
Basic approach is traditional prospecting into accounts with email and phone. Two main strategies: WYWYN… Kensei Partners training. Why You – specific reference to something about your person (let them know it is personal). Why You Now -- something about you or your company that is relevant to your person (why should they pay attention to you). Short, sweet, powerful. Lost Lamb…. This is the “Who do I talk to about marketing automation” approach… Get referral to the right person, appeal to people’s egos.
Digital can include IP based ads, retargeting, social , linkedin, web personalization
Real time personalization = speed and relevancy
Now ideally you get the potential buyer to your website…
Make sure to continue your account based marketing, with personalized content, not just in your outbound campaigns, but also once you are able to drive some level of interest and traffic to your website.
Using marketing automation, specifically Marketo – you have the ability to Target the right potential customers Attract them with highly personalized ads Engage them throughout the buyer journey
How does this work? With Marketo, there is the ability to connect Marketo’s rich data (such as a buying stage or target account) ---- to popular Ad Tech platforms such as linkedin, facebook, or google
Direct mail… two kinds… High-end package with VITO letter, content, and fortune cookies to share… $40… appropriate for CXO Postcard series…. Meant to warm up an account more than drive any direct response
Talk more about this in a second…
With ALL these tactics, the key is how we use Marketo Secret Sauce and Marketing Automation as a force multiplier to get more out of it than regular…
For example, direct mail. SDR simply picks who they want in SFDC, adds them to MSI Campaign. Integration with Marketsync means package is sent, and as upon delivery, Marketo gets notified which sends a personalized email for the SDR and creates the task for them to call them. From there, a series of SLAs kick-off to ensure SDR maintains good follow-up, and the closed-loop reporting happens automatically so we see exactly how it works.
Result from first few months are amazing: since automating it like this, we see 63% connect rate – 30X average for outbound. Plus 5% opp rate, and growing.
Micro-events in each territory… Rockstar “Unplugged”, Sporting Events… Dinner’s hard. Worth high-end, e.g. Club 33. What’s great is that Sales loves them, and if we get somewhere there it’s very high touch and interact with customers. Also, gives OSDRs a reason to call… even if person can’t make event they often start dialog.
Key here is Sales owns attendance. Marketo creates Invites, makes them available in MSI. Event-automated using Marketo Programs (scale)
2309 new names Investment = $40K $17/new name
Manage it closely, make sure you start with good lists and get title right – MUST be places Sales wants to get into. Sales will like participating in list building. Skip SDR
Focus on Enabling sales to hit these non-up-the-center deals.
Okay thanks Heidi. So let’s talk about the 5th and final critical step in an ABM process. With any marketing initiative you have to focus on measuring the results of your work.
We actually look at a variety of metrics here at Marketo. Some are more operational engine room metrics that help with our day to day activities and priorities. And other metrics give us a higher level view of our ABM initiatives.
One of the engine room reports we leverage in our ABM effort is a web activity report that shows – for our target accounts – what is the level of engagement we’ve been able to drive on our website. In this case, higher education institutions are an important target group for us. And here you see a list of those universities and their engagement with different pages on our website. This gives us a quick read on which of these target accounts are engaging with us and maybe more importantly, which are NOT, so that we can focus on those accounts and try to drive some engagement with us.
This is just one example of an operational report we look at to help with our ABM initiative.
Another report that we use that’s useful for me, our CMO, and our sales leaders is our ABM Scorecard. It gives us a gauge on the health of our overall ABM initiative.
At the top you see a summary view that rolls up all of our Target Account Groups. In our case we have a few. We have a group of large Target Customers that we’re focused on. We have our top industry targets like the higher education ones I showed you on the last slide. And we have a few other categories of target accounts.
Our goal is to understand at the group level how we are engaging with each category of Target Accounts. And we have a number of metrics we look at to determine just that. We look at the number of new names we identify in a specific month. We look at the number of people we engage with our marketing programs, or our outbound calls. We look at the number of meetings we are able to generate, the number of Opportunities and the corresponding pipeline we generate and ultimately we look at the bookings we generate from each group.
Below that you see a breakdown of the target account groups. This is a more detailed view that the sales managers can use to work with their reps and their field marketing team to see which accounts we are doing well with and which need more attention.
You might have a different set of metrics to look at for your business, but you’ll want a mix of top of funnel metrics like new leads, and bottom of funnel metrics like opportunities and bookings no matter what.
And you’ll want an overall engagement score (which you see in the first column there). We roll up the different engagement metrics into an aggregate “engagement score” that is basically a weighted sum of the different metrics on each row. So a new lead is worth a few points in the total engagement score but a quality meeting with a Director level person or a new sales opp is worth even more.
And then finally, here you see an overview of the trended metrics for a single account. This gives us an understanding of how we’re trending on some of the key engagement metrics with a specific account. It’s less of an executive dashboard and more of an account specific scorecard that the sales rep and the field marketing counterpart can look at to make sure things are on track.
Okay great! so you’ve seen an overview of all 5 of the critical steps in the ABM process.
And, we’re just about ready to let you go. But I just want to leave you with a few key takeaways from today before we close.
#1, ABM is all about focus. It’s about taking an account-centric view of your marketing and sales effort and focusing on the high-value accounts in your market.
There are 5 critical steps to ABM – Identifying your target accounts mapping those accounts to understand who to target and what their needs are creating content for the different personas you’re targeting Launching cross-channel campaigns targeting those people and leveraging the personalized content you have And then measuring the results of your campaigns so you can be sure to know what’s working and what needs additional attention
And most importantly, all of this can be done at much greater scale than ever before and at lower cost than ever before if you leverage the marketing technologies and ABM vendors that are now available to all of us.
Thanks so much for all of your time. Greatly appreciate you joining Heidi and I on this webinar.
Please feel free to contact either of us if you have any questions or need assistance with ABM in any way.