The Latest from the ABM Experts
April 30, 2019
A Tale of Two ABM Programs
Written by Sangram Vajre
This post is based on a podcast with Jess Engel and Bre Gaul. If you’d like to listen to more #FlipMyFunnel Podcast episodes, you can check them out here and listen to this episode below!
As it turns out, the size of your ABM program doesn’t really matter.
Whether you’re a team of two or 1,000, the tactics of successful ABM are mostly the same.
Here’s what you can expect to learn about:
- Two award-winning ABM programs of very different sizes
- The most important data for an ABM program
- How to do sales/marketing alignment right
- How the two programs have scaled in 18 months
- Tweetable ABM wisdom
Let’s get into it.
Two Award-Winning ABM Programs of Very Different Sizes
Snowflake is running one of the most badass ABM programs in the world. In fact, both Jess and Bre are award-winning ABM marketers and also work at very different companies.
Sigstr has about 60-65 employees. Snowflake? Upwards of a 1000.
The Sigstr marketing team is affectionately dubbed Marketing Island, consisting of Jess, the demand general, a content marketing manager and a product and customer marketing manager—and Justin, the VP of Marketing, of course.
It’s a very different story for Bre’s team.
The Snowflake marketing team is past 50 now. The ABM team specifically is at seven people and sits between marketing and sales as a natural driver of alignment between the two orgs.
Bre’s team works territorially with the sales representatives to target their top 10 accounts, one-to-one. The sales reps pick 10 accounts that the ABM team helps them to market towards, and Bre works with the rest of the marketing team to make sure that the experience those 10 accounts have is top-notch.
The ABM team spends a lot of energy trying to understand what sales knows about an account because, at the end of the day, they know that account better than anyone.
Maybe surprisingly, this is also exactly how Sigstr’s ABM program works. They pull an ABM list based on what they know is their ideal customer profile and then segment that list into three tiers.
Then they assign AEs to 10 of the top tier accounts, based on region. On the bottom two tiers, they nurture accounts with a number of different marketing campaigns.
In other words, it’s basically the same process for both companies.
The Most Important Data for an ABM Program
What Bre really focuses on is just how engaged the account is with Snowflake.
Her team uses Engagio to track engagement minutes, looking at an overview of
- Who is engaging
- What they’re engaging with
- How her team can better their experience
Find out what they’re finding the most value from, then take that back to the sales team to fine tune the messaging to that account. In fact, the data can unite your sales and marketing teams more than anything else sometimes.
How to Do Sales/Marketing Alignment Right
It might sound cliché, but the answer is always going to be communication. Meeting weekly to check in on how the program’s going: that’s key. You can’t just live on Marketing Island.
For Jess, anything she can do to give sales insight is extremely helpful, whether it’s showing them engagement from the Terminus side of things, showing which campaigns are working, and obviously hearing from sales if there’s something else that marketing could be doing to turn the dial up. It’s just communication and I think we have gotten so much better, I think.
Starting off with ABM, it’s like sometimes you don’t know who’s responsible for what. Communication fixes that. And the more you practice communication, the better (and less scary) it gets.
How the Two Programs Have Scaled in 18 Months
The first ABM campaign at Sigstr felt overwhelming and daunting, which is pretty common. It took a long time to get out the door.
Again, simply figuring out who’s got what, who’s pulling the list, and who’s targeting them with what tactic can help you outline a repeatable program, which is so key in the ABM game.
You need to be able to take what you do, recycle it, and turn it into a program. Now Jess’s team knows how they’re going to target each segment and with which marketing tactic.
It’s not always perfect. They’re human, so they miss things by a couple of days, but she can now look at a quarterly view of what should be happening before they do sales handoffs. So much of the initial confusion is gone.
Now it And now it just feels like part of marketing. It’s not so foreign.
As for Snowflake, they take pride in having the person-to-person approach in their wheelhouse. For Bre, scaling is a lot of fun right now, but they’re still finding the balance between meeting and collaborating on ideas every day but also making sure they have the time to do the work.
It’s like a puzzle, figuring out what pieces fit where and how much time to spend on each thing, but that’s part of the fun.
Tweetable ABM Wisdom
From Jess: “Keep ABM personal and authentic.”
It’s really easy to forget that ABM is all about making that personal connection, to break through the noise. So this is your chance to get creative and reach out in a fun way and to find out who the people you’re reaching out to really are.
ABM can be more fun than it sounds.
From Bre: “Make sales your best friend.”
Snowflake’s program relies a lot on communicating and making sure there is mutual respect and support for each other. It’s about the business—not about one-upping each other.
ABM is all about building relationships.