FlipMyFunnel Post, Other

ABM for Humans: Relationship-Based Marketing

This post is based on a podcast with Justin Keller. If you’d like to listen to more #FlipMyFunnel Podcast episodes, you can check them out here and listen to this episode below!

Account-based marketing is a terrible name. It’s accurate, but that’s the problem.


Because marketing departments think in terms of accounts, not the humans in the target department of the target company.

By forgetting the human-to-human connections, you are missing out on the real energy that drives sales — building human relationships.

We need to start thinking about relationship-based marketing.

That’s why for the next three Tuesdays of the Flip My Funnel podcast, Justin Keller, Vice President of Marketing at Sigstr, is taking over to talk about ABM for Humans.

Here’s What We’re Unpacking Today:

  • Fun Fact
  • The Journey from No ABM to Award-Winning ABM
  • Total Addressable Market (TAM): Everyone with Email?
  • First ABM Victory: Striking out with Salesforce
  • ABM for Real: Zootopia and Pizzas
  • ABM for Humans Takeover Session: The Next Three Tuesdays

Fun Fact

My creative outlet is making music. I’m a producer. I play all the instruments, and write a bunch of songs.

Other than that, my hobbies are drinking and cooking, like having a couple of drinks and making really elaborate dinners are my favorite thing to do in the world. I’ve been doing a lot of barbecue lately, but I love making Indian food. I’m trying to create a barbecue Indian fusion.

The Journey from No ABM to Award-Winning ABM

Among other functions, Sigstr delivers signature images based on the domain you’re sending to. They had just added ABM functionality to the Sigstr platform, but there was one problem. They weren’t doing any ABM themselves.

“We’ve got to bite the bullet. We’re doing this now, guys,” recalls Keller. “Beyond that, we’re a venture-backed company. We’ve got really aggressive protocols, and in order to hit our revenue targets, we needed to move upmarket. We needed to do that without slowing down sales velocity. If anything, we needed to speed that up.”

They didn’t have tons of money to burn just to create buzz. They needed to get in front of the right people and make sure that Sigstr’s value made sense to them. That meant a smaller account-based scale.

Total Addressable Market (TAM): Everyone with Email?

The TAM is a great way to focus on the most important accounts. Some companies have a TAM of just a few target companies.

Sigstr had the opposite problem. Every B2B company with email was a prospect. Obviously, that was too large a total market to address.

They narrowed their target list to companies with certain specific tech integrations.

“Being able to shrink it by vertical or industry has been helpful. At the end of the day, you’re trying to get in front of the right people and tell them a good story,” says Keller. “The smaller your universe, the better that story is because you’re not speaking in a vague, general way. You’re talking about real problems and real humans, and that makes people want to work with you.”

First ABM Victory: Striking out with Salesforce

To dip their toes in the ABM waters, Sigstr focused on one target: Salesforce.

Even better, their target was just 11 people within Salesforce. They bought a landing page URL SigstrSalesforce.com (no longer working) and created a very customized pitch to Salesforce. They bought 11, $5 Starbucks gift cards that had the landing page URL printed on them and the message: “Visit the website. Have a coffee. Let’s talk.” The directly mailed those cards to their 11 targeted people.

On the landing page was a photo of the account executive responsible for Salesforce and her email.

The campaign worked in getting engagement from Salesforce. It didn’t win the account, but at least Sigstr was on their radar now.

They learned a lot from the campaign. They learned that they really loved doing ABM.

Now they had to up the scale, from one company to 100.

ABM for Real: Zootopia and Pizzas

Keller and the Sigstr team decided to target 100 companies. That meant creating 100 custom landing pages.

“The marketing team and I locked ourselves in the conference room. We ordered pizza, and we built 100 personalized landing pages,” recalls Keller. “We watched Zootopia. Fun fact, the length of Zootopia is exactly as long as it takes to build 100 landing pages.”

Any time someone emailed to one of those email domains, the recipient would see the personalized Sigstr campaign that would take them to a customized content experience.

The campaigns worked in generating opportunities for the company.

Then they wanted to go from 100 to 1,000.

There are only so many times your team can watch Zootopia. To 10x their ABM, they needed to invest in marketing technology such as Terminus, Drift, and Clearbit.

“We made it so that when you have the Sigstr campaign or Terminus had a click through, it would take them to a Drift conversational landing page, which understood the IP address they were coming from and would connect them to the AE responsible for that account,” recalls Keller.

The focus of the campaign was always bringing people together.

ABM for Humans Takeover Sessions: The Next Three Tuesdays

For the next three Tuesdays, Keller will be taking over Flip My Funnel to talk about the human side of ABM. Keller provides a preview of the upcoming shows:


  1. Sruthi Kumar, is the Global Marketing Manager for Sendoso, a sending platform that’s great for personalized outreach to generate text and get someone to talk back to you. We talk a lot about digital burnout and how you need to have new techniques in this world where we’ve all gotten so good at digital marketing that we tune each other out.
  2. Next is Breanna Gaul, an ABM Marketer at Snowflake, who is running one of the most badass ABM programs in the world. They’ve got about 50,000 people. Then for comparison, Jessica Engel, who’s on the Sigstr team and who runs our ABM and demand programs. We have about 65 people, so vastly different sized companies.

“I didn’t anticipate this, but the similarities between our ABM programs are striking,” says Keller. “The 50,000-person company and the 65-person company were operating in many of the same ways.”

Finally, Sarah Tosh, who is Sigstr’s Senior Sales Director, and Mavis Norwich, who runs sales dev for a company called Zipwhip in Seattle. We talk about the role of sales development in an ABM program and how SDRs are the backbone of an ABM program.

This post is based on a podcast with Sangram Vajre and Justin Keller, Vice President of Marketing at Sigstr. If you’d like to listen to the full episode, you can check it out here and below.