Terminus Blog

The Latest from the ABM Experts

ABM is about Trust More than Awareness

Author ryan.drawdy Category FlipMyFunnel

So, you’re an ABM marketer of a little fish in a sea of big fish.

A lot of people think that marketing a small to medium-sized B2B company in a market dominated by giants is all about awareness.

The problem is companies looking to hire a new player instead of an established one aren’t making that decision based on their awareness of your company.

They are asking themselves questions like:

“Do I have the confidence that this vendor has the capabilities of delivering what they say?” 

“If something goes wrong, will they help me or abuse the situation?”

“Are they trying to convince me to adopt something totally new or are they a better version of something I already believe in?”

This is especially true for large deals.

On this #TakeOverTuesday, guest host Steve Watt interviews Chris Engman CRO, CMO and lead investor at Proof Analytics joins the show to talk about:

  • 4 big failures in ABM
  • 2 key ways to win

Chris Engman is also an author of the amazing book Megadeals, a deep analysis of what goes into landing large, complex B2B deals.

Fail 1: Over-Emphasis on the Short-Term.

Across the B2B landscape, there is a huge overspend on lead generation.

If you cut the whole funnel into three large chunks you have: lead generation, deal closing, deal expansion or cross-selling.

If you look at those three phases, there’s such a significant overspend on lead generation and a painful underspend on helping sales close bigger deals faster with a higher win rate.

But closing big deals at a high win rate is the core of ABM! So why on earth is there such an overspend on lead generation?

Fail 2: Low Investment in Pipeline Marketing

Pipeline marketing is marketing towards your pipeline (Let’s stop and salute captain obvious for that definition)

To clarify, that’s trying to expand on previously closed deals or deals that have not closed but are in the pipeline.

Both his research on Megadeals and his experience with Proof-Analytics has shown Chris that this is a place that is chronically under-invested.

Fail 3: Focusing on Brand Awareness Over Building Trust

The power of the brand is critical in B2B. Chris believes that it’s even more important in B2B than it is in B2C.

It’s actually pretty simple.  It comes down to risk mitigation.

“Value is bringing you through the door. Risk mitigation is closing deals.”

Risk mitigation is built on trust, and if you want to see a faster conversion and a higher win rate, you need to direct your marketing at increasing trust among your buyers.

Especially in big deals where the buyer is considering switching from an established brand, they want to know:

  • That they have the confidence that this vendor has the capabilities of delivering what they say they will. 
  • That if something goes wrong, the vendor will not pull the rug out underneath them

Large deals have so much to do with risk mitigation, but people in sales or marketing are trained to talk too much about value and differentiation. 

Value and differentiation will take you through the door. They’re not closing the deals.

Win 1: Frame yourself as a better version of what they already believe in.

You can’t convince the world that you’re stronger than Siemens, but on very selected accounts you can convince the audience in those accounts that you’re better.

How do you do that? +1 your competition. 

This is less about marketing and more about the product itself.  

You want to make sure your product is a significant improvement on what the other guy is offering. But frame your differentiation with the buyer’s feeling of risk in mind.

You may be far and away a revolutionary new take on things.  You might be the future of the market.  

Awesome.  But your buyer cares about not getting fired for investing in something new instead of something proven.  So you’ll want to frame yourself with that in mind.

For large deals, you benefit from being a bit different, not entirely different. 

This is a much smaller leap for the buyers. 

After all, trying to create something entirely new in their minds = trying to create something entirely new in their budget.

By framing your differentiation as a +1 on what they already believe in, you can ride the slipstream of your competitors. 


Win 2: Value the Delayed Effect.

Unfortunately, A lot of companies are trying to analyze their marketing with methods that are only seeing the short term.

To them, If you’ve seen an ad, but you didn’t act upon it, in the short term analytics world, the value of that ad is zero.

No way!

You’ve definitely been influenced by it. And you might act on it when you see the seventh ad down the line.

But in the short term world, that seventh ad is the only one that had value.

So what to do instead:

Measure effect over time.

Don’t just look at how long an ad runs, but how long the ad will have an effect on the viewer’s brain.

Choose marketing that has a strong brand effect.

Ads in search terms don’t tend to stay in the memory long or at all.  Funny videos, on the other hand, have the potential to be remembered forever.

Understand the value of spillover effect.

Marketing that’s designed to build trust in one domain can influence the feeling of trust in a new domain.  

This is why marketing doesn’t always have to be directly about your product. 

If your buyer loves/trusts you because you helped them with something unrelated to your product, this will affect their trust in your product.

When you invest in marketing that’s focused on the long term, focused on building trust over pure awareness, even if you’re a small to medium-sized vendor you can beat the giants.

Share this Post Headline