[ABM Case Study] How Salesloft Measures Its Most Impactful Activities and Accelerates Enterprise Acquisition

Launching an account-based marketing strategy in an established sales organization is a daunting proposal. It requires a slight, but fundamental, shift in reporting to the higher-ups and moves the marketing discussion from leads, leads, leads to target account pipeline.

Shifting from flat metrics like daily form fills to dynamic metrics like pipeline and revenue eliminates the discord between sales and marketing and has the ability to rally both teams under a common flag — the enterprise flag. After all, isn’t the enterprise flag the only thing that gets leadership excited anyway? 

Salesloft, an Atlanta-based platform that enables sales teams to better engage with their customers, relished the opportunity to leverage the Terminus ABM platform to measure account engagement by channel and accelerate their enterprise pipeline. We spoke with Eric Martin, the Senior Director of Demand Generation, on Salesloft’s approach to enterprise acquisition.  

Leaving the lead-based safety blanket

One of Salesloft’s earliest goals was growing their share of the market beyond the companies that simply filled out a form on their website. After doing a full audit of their demand generation programs, their team, their processes, and tools — Eric came to the conclusion that they needed a complete overhaul to the way they were doing business. 

The typical inbound leads were lower quality and the deals that they produced were too small. Simply attracting leads to fill out a form for a piece of content and throwing them over to sales was not going to attract or close the big fish with larger deal sizes. They needed to find a way to target and penetrate new markets, new industries, and larger customers. And that’s when Salesloft found Terminus. 

“This different way of doing business, this different way of growing was tailor made for a large company strategy.” – Eric Martin, says of ABM. 

Starting off on the right foot with TAM

Before Salesloft could commit to an ABM strategy, they had to commit to isolating their Total Addressable Market (TAM) and Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). This included analyzing the size of their market and then using the results to contextualize and source the accounts that they were going to use for their two key segments, commercial and enterprise. 

The TAM for Salesloft is incredibly vast — essentially any B2B org with a sales department. This meant they had to use firmographic and technographic data to surface their best-fit accounts — those of a certain size with a CRM and with a marketing automation platform. Once the accounts were identified, they could figure out the marketing menu and the programs that they would use to be able to engage with these accounts. 

3 Metrics That Matter to Salesloft (and their Board)

When asked what metrics they presented to the board, Salesloft provided these three KPIs:

1. Target Account Pipeline

Target account pipeline is the number one metric that Salesloft tracks to ensure ABM success. This is pipeline specific to the key accounts that Salesloft has identified as important to sustainable growth. This metric is shared between sales and marketing and the basis for their ABM measurement. 

By focusing on only target accounts, they were able to refine their messaging to a select few personas, rather than chasing an endless “Russian Doll” persona hole with an impossible number of roles and needs to develop content for. 

While the universal message of “get more meetings” was pulling in the volume of leads needed to support early stage growth, ultimately that strategy began to drown out the more valuable contacts made with their best-fit accounts.

2. Marketing-Influenced Pipeline

The second metric that Salesloft uses to determine ABM success is the percentage of target account pipeline that marketing influenced. This simple percentage lets their leadership know how effective their marketing programs are at covering the entire target account pipeline and how much of the target account list they are engaging with. 

This is a holistic number that goes beyond digital and includes field marketing, events, email outreach, and any other marketing campaigns that are running in tandem with sales’ outreach. 

Salesloft determined that 70-80% of the target account pipeline at minimum should be influenced by marketing programs based on industry analyst benchmarks — and if that number is not being hit then either the marketing has to change or the target account list needs to change. 

3) Target Account Contacts Engaged

3) The third metric that Salesloft tracks as part of their ABM success is target account contacts engaged — or as Salesloft calls them — the new MQL. This is a contact made within one of your best-fit accounts. 

Unlike many organizations, Salesloft has attempted to move away from the traditional MQL/SQL taxonomy to fully commit to an account-centric model. 

RESULTS: Salesloft closes a $100k enterprise account

The enterprise opportunity was opened in November of 2016 and closed in January of 2019. This was a multiyear deal that involved multiple personas that were engaged throughout the cycle. Pictured above is demo data from a similar enterprise account. 

On this graph, the blue dots are the contacts at the account that they have engaged with. The orange dots are engagements with actual contacts on the opportunity — the decision makers. This graph demonstrates the amount of work that goes into closing an entire account — not just working a single lead that filled out a form. 

Now, every time an enterprise deal comes through, Salesloft leadership jumps into Terminus Account Hub and looks at the Opportunity Journey Report to see what learnings they can derive about when, how, and why an enterprise deal closes. From there, their team can apply those learnings about buying committee behavior to their other enterprise accounts. 

Another report they pull from Account Hub is the marketing report, which shows all of the marketing touch points that influenced the deal, letting his content team know what is being consumed, when it’s reaching their target audience, and what is influencing pipeline. This is demo data from a similar enterprise account. 

From this view, marketing can easily see which pieces of content yielded the most engagement from the opportunity contacts which would allow them to iterate for future deals. 

Going beyond digital with ABM

One specific ABM tactic that Salesloft implements is a robust field marketing strategy. While each event represents a large (and potentially risky) investment, they have yielded a lot of positive results with ABM. At the enterprise level, the sales process is very relationship-based and requires building those relationships from scratch. Having a strong field marketing program enables the Salesloft team to build those relationships in person, rather than typical, and often transactional, email or phone channels. 

To learn how Terminus can help with your ABM strategy, contact us today.