“Rather than taking leaves and throwing them over the fence, from marketing to sales, you’re working together from the same prioritized account list. [ABM] enforces prioritization.”
Over the last few years, more and more B2B marketing and sales teams have embraced account-based marketing strategies to increase revenue, streamline operations, and strengthen relationships with prospects and clients. And now that many have had time to test their programs, they’re discovering the pillars of success and using those to form a sturdy and scalable ABM strategy.
While these pillars will differ from company to company, exploring what has worked for others can help you define how to build an impactful ABM strategy or refine your current one. So on that note, let’s take a look at what the team at Optymyze, the leading sales performance management platform, has been up to.
Optymyze’s VP of Marketing, Renny Fidlon, and Acquisition Marketing Manager, Sarah McGlinchey, recently joined us on a webinar to share how Optymyze’s marketing and sales teams target key accounts. They explained why and how they are:
- Prioritizing their total addressable market (TAM).
- Aligning their sales and marketing teams.
- Upleveling their measurement practices.
Why Optymyze Chose ABM
Every organization will have different motivating factors for targeting strategic accounts. You might want to grow revenue within existing customer accounts, sell into a new vertical, or shorten your sales cycle. The main motivator for Optymyze was the need to more accurately measure marketing’s impact on the entire customer journey.
“For any B2B organization with a really long sales cycle, you need to be able to see the activity at the account level, including website visits and how they are interacting with your marketing materials,” Renny says.
To get to the point where you can report on your success, you need to invest in trackable tactics that get the right message in front of the right people at the right time. And, in the wake of ABM’s ongoing evolution, there are a handful of themes that continue to rise to the top.
1. Define Your Ideal Customer Profile
The way marketers target their buyers today has the potential to be more focused than ever before. For decades, we’ve been conditioned to cast a wide net to attract as many leads as possible. But the problem is, most leads that come in this way are unqualified — and less than 1% ever turn into customers. ABM helps you spend your time and money only on accounts within your addressable market.
To build a target account list, you need to understand which types of companies should be on it. As Sarah explains, this means getting your marketing and sales teams on the same page.
So, how did Optymyze do it? Their marketing and sales leadership sat down together to define their ideal customer profile — the characteristics of the accounts that are a great fit for their solution. Then, they used Linkedin Sales Navigator to uncover accounts that fit this profile. Now, everyone on the go-to-market team has a shared list of best-fit accounts.
2. Building Prioritized Account Lists
There are endless ways to slice and dice your target account list. You can look at company size, annual revenue, region, intent signals, engagement data, or any number of factors depending on your goals. Let’s take a look at how Optymyze does it.
Optymyze segments their target account list into what they call A, B and C accounts. Because they provide a product for sales professionals, the number of salespeople at a company is the most important factor they look at.
- A accounts have sales teams of 1,000 people or more.
- B accounts have sales teams of 250 to 999, and the teams are either growing or staying the same size.
- C accounts also have 250 to 999 salespeople, but in these accounts, that number is declining.
Here, Optymyze organizes their lists around their best business opportunities. By understanding which of their target accounts have the highest revenue potential and best chance of closing, they can get focused and spend their resources more wisely.
Still, even with the most brilliant of strategies, what good will ABM and TAM be if not entirely understood within an organization? It takes marketing leaders to educate the workforce, explain the principle of TAM to an organization, including how it is defined and why the company is taking one particular approach over others.
“We worked with our sales leadership and we actually built out books of business for each of the verticals that we cover,” Renny says. “Those books of business were built out of our Total Addressable Market, and the concept of a book of business was easily understood.”
3. Aligning Sales and Marketing
ABM is a practice of alignment and focusing your organization’s efforts as a whole on the same group of accounts that are going to add the most value to your business. It’s not enough for marketing and sales to simply decide to implement an ABM strategy –– the vision has to be sold internally to every stakeholder to bring every function into the fold. And this is where having clearly defined goals is mission critical to ABM success.
As Renny explains, Optymyze had three primary goals for their ABM program. First, they knew their long B2B sales cycle needed to be broken down and wanted to better understand the critical inflection points along the way. Second, they were getting large numbers of leads that weren’t qualified and realized their lead qualification process was ineffective. They wanted to turn this around by getting more diligent about pre-qualifying and prioritizing. And lastly, the popular adage rings true: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” The Optymyze team wanted to get better about measuring their brand reach efforts to determine success and, in some cases, pivot resources and strategies where needed.
So, with their organization aligned as one team on clearly defined goals, strategies and processes, the next step was defining success metrics and determining the best way to report these to leadership.
4. Measuring What Truly Matters
In most organizations, the metrics that matter most include ABM’s impact on engagement, pipeline velocity, account retention and expansion, and bottom line revenue. Every team will have to determine what matters most to them and what data they need to monitor to help inform strategic decisions in terms of campaign adjustments or account prioritization.
In the case of Optymyze, Renny says brand reach and account penetration were their top measurement priorities. For brand reach, they monitored what percent of their TAM was visiting their site at an account level over a 90-day period. Monitoring this helped them identify the effectiveness of specific campaigns.
In tracking account penetration, the team could pinpoint the exact number of individuals from an account visiting their site. This data would allow the sales team to see which accounts were most active and which needed more attention.
“What we are measuring is at an audience level so we measure the direct attribution from our marketing campaigns,” says Renny. “We’re looking at whether that audience consists of the entire total adjustable market or a segment of it. And we’re looking for increased engagement and a larger percentage of the influencers and the buying group reached.”
And this part is key. You have to be able to uncover the immediate story your data is telling you about the health of your campaigns at any given point in your customer’s journey. This is where engagement data comes in. By drilling down into account-specific page views, content performance per account or segment based on engagement, and how many interactions it required to make a conversion, you can begin to optimize the marketing and sales process.
Sarah explains their team asks questions like, “Did we see an increased number of page views from these accounts that we’re targeting with our account-based marketing program? As far as account penetration, do they consume more content and if so, were they more likely to convert?”
“We were actually able to compare those accounts to a look-alike audience across a six-month time period, and we saw that those accounts consumed 14% more content and they were 5.7 times more likely to give us their email to convert,” she says.
To effectively gauge how many interactions it took to convert a form fill, the Optymyze team expertly tracked both known and unknown site visitors. This not only helped them establish a baseline for the level of engagement they needed to maintain, but also gave them insights into how successful they were in achieving account penetration –– not to mention the average number of influencers in the buying committees of their target accounts.
Tracking unknown visitor behavior, via engagement data, is also a signal when an account is hot versus when they may have cooled off. These signals can be used to inform the sales team on which account(s) to prioritize next.
Account-based marketing is a strategic, efficient way for B2B companies to grow revenue. It all hinges on these key factors:
- Start with your ideal customer profile to define your company’s target account lists. This will help prevent casting too wide a net.
- Establish key goals like brand reach and account penetration, and ensure these are communicated throughout the entire organization.
- The importance of working as one united team cannot be understated. Get all the players bought into your ABM strategy. In most organizations, this will include marketing, sales, customer success, and sometimes even product development.
- Make sure you’re nurturing all your buyers — anonymous and known. By tying anonymous website visitors to their respective accounts (using reverse IP lookup tool, like Terminus’ visitor tracking) can help inform your campaigns and your sales team’s priorities.
As a parting thought, Renny says, “You want to make sure you know what your success metrics are going to before you run your campaigns. Don’t overlook developing your total addressable market. It’s going to truly allow you to implement new ways of measurement. Spend the time to do it right.”