ABM Done So Well, People Want to be Targeted

Your goal: leverage account-based marketing to nurture potential customers and clients into buyers. Sure. Sounds easy. So, how does that actually happen?

Tyler Lessard is the CMO at Vidyard and one of Marketo’s Fearless 50 marketers. His team masterfully creates and executes marketing campaigns that creatively engage potential clients. He presented at a #FlipMyFunnel conference a little while back. We put his session up on our podcast and just had to write a blog covering his incredible session. 

If you’re looking for some basics in ABM, his session is for you. He gave us his insights on how his team engages and creates meaningful touchpoints using ABM, ultimately creating more buyers. 

Why Target Market Matters

Tyler’s had a lot of experience creating engaging, high-return campaigns, and it took some learning, he said.

Tyler’s team started out like many awesome CMO’s do — his team started generating an enormous amount of leads, thousands of Marketing-Qualified Leads every month. The energy was high, he was excited, and as far as MQLs go, they were crushing the competition.

The only problem?

Very few of them were converting into buyers.

“We thought things were going really well, until we started to dig into the data,” noted Tyler. His sales department was rejecting 60 percent of their MQLs. So Tyler dug until he found some answers

[Tweet “”We thought things were going really well, until we started to dig into the data.” -@tylerlessard”]

Many awesome marketing leaders find themselves in the same position — of creating leads, yet seeing small amounts of conversion. What should you do?

Who Are the Target Accounts?

Firstly, Tyler says you need to figure out who your target accounts really are. Tyler’s team asked the question, “Who are we truly going after?”

His team created a scoring method using various characteristics. to build a profile and scoring method of ideal potential clients, Tyler’s team used three inputs:

  • Sales Team: What did the sales team believe their ideal candidate was?
  • Marketing Team: Asked his own team about the characteristics that created an ideal potential buyer.
  • Data Mining: Used data analytics to uncover who their current buyers were

Once his team had uncovered various characteristics of potential buyers, they created a scoring method from 1 – 12, 12 being the highest scoring leads.

“By adding in company scoring, we were able to increase the conversion rates at the top of the funnel because we were de-prioritizing leads that were coming in that had a very low score.” – Tyler Lessard

Using this scoring method, Tyler’s team narrowed down their highest-scoring (8-12) companies.  This was a good start, but after trial and error, Tyler’s team took this a notch up — the next step? After you identify those clients with a high score, identify which ones have intent to buy.

Phase 1: Identification, Contact Acquisition, & Brand Awareness

Tyler noted three phases of taking an account through ABM.  First, use your lead scoring to then uncover which accounts have the most potential.

Using the data from their lead scoring, Tyler’s team took a look at those top-scoring companies from their leads, and asked two questions:

  • Who’s active in the market?
  • Who’s responding to first-level ads?

To find data on who was responding to these ads and who was active in the market, they used various marketing solutions like Marketo, Terminus, etc., to uncover these datasets.

In Vidyard’s case, which is a next-level video content, engagement, and analytics platform, it was important for Tyler’s team to know which companies were creating and uploading videos. This type of data wasn’t readily accessible from a third-party solution. So, Tyler’s team created their own solution, which ran reports on which companies from that top 200 list were creating the most video content.

These analytics helped Tyler’s team narrow down from their top companies to an even smaller number, and then his team did targeted advertising towards those potential clients.

Phase 2: Direct Engagement and Targeted Nurturing

After you have identified those companies that have high scores, are responsive to ads, and are active in the market your company serves, go after those key decision-makers with direct engagement and targeted nurturing.

After Phase 1, Tyler’s team directly engages with and nurtures those accounts from Phase 1. Especially in that phase, Tyler noted the importance of working with Sales:

“This is like the marketing and Sales 1, 2 punch,” Tyler said, stressing the importance of the one team approach.

Be creative here on how your sales and marketing teams will co-engage those decision-makers.

Tyler had a great example of a one team, creative engagement approach: Using the top companies identified in phase 1 from the marketing team, an SDR would create a custom video to reach out to key decision-makers within the companies most likely to buy.

The SDR would have a script outline, but would customize the script based on research from the company and often even using the names of the individual of the recipient of the video.

After creating a customized video, the SDR would send a link of the video to a decision maker, using their name in the video and/or in the thumbnail.

This custom approach has seen tremendous results. Everyone loves to see their own name in a video, so recipients of the ads tend to open it.

Phase 3: Automate and Orchestrate as Much as Possible

In this phase, Tyler spoke about automating these processes as much as possible. Once you build an ad campaign that works well in engaging those accounts with the highest potential of turning into buyers, automate that ad campaign.

Use analytics and technology solutions, like Terminus, Marketo, etc., to replicate the same ad campaign to other potential clients with the same characteristics. This will drive engagement with less manual labor.

Three Takeaways

Tyler left us with three takeaways he said he’d love to see people walk away with:

  1. Create programs that are relevant, contextual, and personalized to get their attention
  2. Consider integrated engagement programs that leverage your sales and marketing engines
  3. Leverage the right technology to scale and optimize your ABM programs

This post is based on a #FlipMyFunnel Podcast with Tyler Lessard. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The #FlipMyFunnel PodcastIf you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.