When you become the established leader of your industry, the name of the revenue game can often change from acquisition and demand to renewals and expansions. And, if your deal sizes are in the millions, focusing on retaining and expanding within your key accounts matters more than winning potentially poor fit net new businesses that will likely churn in the next deal cycle.
Enter account-based marketing.
The account-based marketing philosophy is built around understanding your total addressable market (TAM) and then starting meaningful conversations with those accounts who match your ideal customer profile (ICP). Everyone who doesn’t fit that profile is put on hold in carbonite – to be reawakened when and if they someday match your ICP. Once the target accounts are identified within your CRM as either existing customers or prospect accounts, you can select the tools required to align and scale your sales, CSM, and marketing efforts in an efficient manner.
Thomson Reuters Legal Professionals, the world’s leading source of legal management solutions, turned to Terminus for an account-based marketing partner who could help execute an ABM program at scale quickly and efficiently to drive retention, expansion, and pipeline velocity with their key accounts.
We spoke with Jillian Gartner, Director of Account Based Marketing, on Thomson Reuters’s approach to ABM and the 9 account-based marketing tactics they used.
Tiering Accounts to Scale Growth
When Thomson Reuters first launched their ABM program, they began by tiering their accounts into different buckets, based on deal size and renewal stage. Of their TAM, they determined that 500 accounts fit their ICP and divided them into three tiers which would have different account-based marketing tactics to support them.
TIER 3: High-Fit, Further Out Renewals, Longer Sales Cycle
Of the 500 accounts which Thomson Reuters targets as part of their ABM program, 200 have been classified as Tier 3 accounts. This means that they match their ICP, but have contract renewal dates which are further out or are net new accounts which will likely have a longer deal cycle. This tier also forms the baseline of activities for Tiers 1 and 2.
For these accounts, Thomson Reuters employs three different account-based marketing tactics to keep their interactions with these accounts highly meaningful and top of mind.
Tier 3 Account-Based Marketing Tactics
- ABM Tactic 1: “Always On” Digital Marketing
- The first tactic they employ is an “always on” digital approach which includes heavily personalized programmatic ads so that, when their accounts are surfing the web, the Thomson Reuters product line best-suited for the account is always displayed. They use Terminus to run these programmatic ads to target each account and measure the results.
- ABM Tactic 2: Strategic Field Marketing
- These Tier 3 accounts are invited to any number of the 700 in-market events which the Thomson Reuters field marketing team strategically plans throughout the country based on various product roadmap sessions and thought leadership sessions based on the industry as a whole.
- ABM Tactic 3: Content or Event Opportunities
- The third ABM tactic they deploy for these Tier 3 accounts is offering thought leadership opportunities – which include being quoted in content pieces or being offered speaking opportunities at one of their in-market events.
TIER 2: High-Fit, Active Renewals, Larger Acquisitions in need of air cover
The second tier includes accounts which are in active renewal discussions or which represent a large new acquisition that is not actively engaging with sales. These 200 accounts need higher-touch marketing support to help the sales and CSM teams stay in front of these larger firms and companies at the right time.
The Thomson Reuters team actively deploys the ABM tactics from Tier 3, in addition to the following set.
Tier 2 Account-Based Marketing Tactics
- ABM Tactic 4: Door Opener Kits
- Door opener kits are a very effective ABM tactic for Thomson Reuters Tier 2 accounts. If there are any firms stuck in the sales cycle or become unresponsive, a dimensional mailer (like a Yeti tumbler, Google Home, or a high-end snack item such as gourmet popcorn) will often result in a fast response.
- ABM Tactic 5: Trial Incentives
- Depending on the product line that the account is best-suited for, they may receive an invitation to utilize the product for free for a limited period of time to get the account engaged in the product.
- ABM Tactic 6: High-Profile Events
- Fortunately for Thomson Reuters, they are also part of the news network Reuters News which gives them access to high profile events like the White House Correspondents dinner. This, along with strategic purchases of exclusive suite sat the U.S. Open tennis match and other similar events, allows the Thomson Reuters team to invite Tier 2 decision makers to a high-profile networking events at the right time – because they have opportunities throughout the year.
TIER ONE: High Risk Renewals, Largest Acquisitions with Active Sales Cycle
Tier 1 accounts represent Thomson Reuter’s most strategic targets which include high risk renewals and the largest acquisitions which are 18 months from closing.
While receiving the benefits of both the Tier 2 and 3 programming, these 100 accounts also receive custom 1-1 marketing campaigns managed by two individual marketing managers.
Tier 1 Account-Based Marketing Tactics
- ABM Tactic 7: Dedicated Personnel
- Tier 1 accounts receive programmatic ads completely bespoke to the company’s name, firmographics, and stage in the buying cycle which are developed and managed by a dedicated marketing team member who works in lockstep with sales. These 1-1 campaigns are deeply researched and personalized so that every sales and marketing touch is meaningful.
- ABM Tactic 8: Onsite Product Events
- To drive interest for the product line best-suited for the target account, Thomson Reuters hosts onsite product demo events in the offices of the customer or the prospect. These have included bringing in baristas, planning Ben & Jerry’s ice cream socials, offering catered lunches, and more – all to drive attendance so they can reach the people who help influence the buying decisions on their home turf.
- ABM Tactic 9: Executive-Level Thought Leadership Opportunities
- Thomson Reuters has a thought leadership arm, Legal Executive Institute, that is an industry leader in hosting exclusive events and publishing content to the legal industry. Their ABM team works in close partnership with the thought leadership group to ensure executives from their top law customers have opportunities to speak at industry events and be published in blogs, white papers, articles and more. Having this exposure not only makes their customers happy, but it allows their sales team to follow up and congratulate industry executives on being featured as an industry thought leader.
The Proof Is in the Popcorn
From bags of gourmet popcorn to invitations to the White House Correspondents dinner, the account-based marketing tactics employed by the Thomson Reuters team were the perfect blend of standardized and customizable.
By strategically tiering the target accounts by fit, deal size, and buying cycle stage and pairing them with proven account-based marketing tactics, the Thomson Reuters team was able to build a scalable program which resulted in a 95% win rate, 80% of which was from renewal or expansion opportunities.
If you’re curious how you can scale an effective ABM program for your business, contact Terminus today.