The Latest from the ABM Experts
November 7, 2019
Achieve a 95% Success Rate With These 5 Action Items
Written by Sangram Vajre
Last year, thanks to the partnership between marketing and sales, Thomson Reuters achieved a 95% win rate.
Discussing the steps they took to reach such a lofty success rate is Director of Account-Based Marketing, Jillian Gartner.
Here’s what we’re unpacking today:
- Building a case for marketing budget
- Developing a partnership between sales and marketing
- Determining target accounts
- Measuring your approach’s effectiveness
This post is based on a B2BSMX session delivered by Jillian Gartner. You can listen to the full session here and below.
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1. Justify your approach
Jillian: When it comes to justifying your approach, what you’re going to want to do is make sure that you’re building a case to show you’re focusing some of your efforts on retention marketing.
For your business, that can mean receiving an incremental investment in your marketing spend in order to help support these types of deals. Acquiring new accounts costs 5 to 25 times as much as retaining and growing existing accounts. That’s something I would highly recommend using in your case.
You’ll also want to show how ROI can exponentially grow as you make these types of investments with some of your high-value accounts.
Specifically looking at annual contract values, incremental sales, and then multiplying that by the number of accounts that you’re working with.
Make sure you’re building that ROI-based approach so that you can go into your leadership and say, “This is what we’re going to do, how we’re going to do it, and this is what it’s going to net us in the end.”
2. Give everyone a stake in the game
Jillian: It’s important to establish a partnership between marketing and sales.
This typical tug-of-war between marketing and sales can still happen when you’re aligned. I would definitely recommend staying aligned but making sure that you have ownership between marketing and sales personnel so that you’re working together, not against each other when working towards goals.
I would highly recommend the type of approach where you’re working together, focusing on the same targets. Give all parties a stake in the game.
For example, my team executes a number of attention-focused customer events. These are everything from hosting wine and whiskey events, to cooking classes, to sporting event suites.
We make sure the touch points along the way are generated by our sales team. While marketing can help invite the masses, getting the right people to the event can be put on your sales team.
Establishing that partnership to help get the right people in the seats at your events is one way to give folks a stake in the game.
3. Work together to determine target accounts
Jillian: You need to align on accounts and strategies.
Be very selective of the accounts that you choose for your account-based marketing program. Focus on attention or retention with high-value accounts.
My team typically looks at renewal cycles for the accounts that we’re trying to retain and specifically focus on when their renewal is set to take place. We work in partnership with the sales team so we understand the life cycle of that account.
For example, we look at all the services they’re subscribed to, when they are set to renew, what’s at risk, what’s not at risk, and what additional services or upsells are we trying to work towards and get them to adopt.
Building a partnership between sales and marketing by selecting the accounts is really helpful. Marketing can help come up with the initial list, then get buy-in and make adjustments based on what your sales team knows is happening. They know the customers better than anyone. They’re closest to the customer, so make sure that you’re aligned with the sales team.
Then, you can work together to really understand who the accounts are and what their goals are.
4. Use a tier system for accounts
Jillian: It’s important to execute retention-focused marketing strategies.
My team has a tiered approach that we use for our entire account-based marketing program.
One of those tiers is set to build strategies on a one-to-one basis and really those are focused on our highest risk accounts. Obviously, we never want to lose a customer, but those we absolutely cannot afford to lose.
Also, those accounts have the highest risk or renewal values or the highest upsell opportunities. Therefore, we build custom marketing plans for some of our select firms in order to develop the right approach that matches their journey.
We also employ some one-to-many or one-to-few marketing tactics that are specifically focused on grouping similar companies together so that we’re marketing a related approach. This allows us to operate more at scale.
5. Measure your effectiveness
Jillian: It’s important to measure the effectiveness of your marketing activities.
My team’s effectiveness is mainly measured on two pieces:
- Win rate
- Marketing-attributed sales
We also look at engagement and conversion. To break these down a little bit, we calculate the win rate by looking at all the accounts in our program.
Which have deals that closed at the end of the year? Of those deals that closed, what percent were won and what percent were lost? That’s how we calculate the win rate.
Last year, my team was fortunate to have a 95% win rate. Marketing-attributed sales are huge for our entire marketing department, as well as for account-based marketing.
Here, we’re specifically focused on incremental sales for those renewals that we’re nurturing along the way. We’re all working towards the same goal in our marketing department. We’re focused on marketing-attributed sales which are a percentage of the total sales that need to come in at the end of the year.
From a retention standpoint, the incremental sales values – or anything that’s up-sold to an existing account – counts towards that marketing-attributed sales rate.
Lastly, we measure engagement and conversion. This is something, quite honestly, we haven’t perfected and we’re still iterating towards.
We want to measure how firms are engaging with us. And, of those companies that are engaging with us, which are actually converting into sales? That’s something we measure and it’s a moving target but definitely something that will continue to grow and evolve.