The Latest from the ABM Experts
March 28, 2019
How Phononic Used Terminus To Reap Huge ABM Success
Written by Sangram Vajre
This post is based on a podcast with Daniel Englebretson. If you’d like to listen to more #FlipMyFunnel Podcast episodes, you can check them out here and listen to this episode below!
Daniel and I talked about how Phononic uses Terminus to reap ABM success.
Here’s what we’re unpacking today:
- Can Your Demand Generation Be Too Successful?
- Account Based Marketing Proves Its Worth
- How They Did It
- Blogging Strategy Changed
- Selling the Sales Department on ABM
- Keeping It Fresh
- Too Much Success
Can Your Demand Generation Be Too Successful?
What happens when you have more account-based marketing leads than your sales team can handle? This is a problem the startup Phononic faced.
The company makes small solid-state chips that replace large compressors for maintaining temperatures to keep vaccines or Pepsi soda at the optimal range. (The company just signed a massive deal with Pepsi Bottling Ventures to provide small sustainable display refrigerators for Pepsi products.)
The company has an average deal size of $2.5 million, which is huge for a startup. The company is growing fast with an IPO scheduled for 2020. They are experiencing high growth in a number of different sectors from medical to the beverage industry, from drones to data centers.
All sorts of new applications are possible now. For example, the tiny solid-state chips allow them to use drones to deliver refrigerated blood to blood banks in remote locations.
While you’d think such a product would sell itself, Englebretson had to build the demand generation team from the ground up.
Account Based Marketing Proves Its Worth
The goal of the company was building credibility in the eyes of the target audience.
They chose Terminus because it allowed them to deliver their messaging in a targeted way and to show up everywhere to make Phononic credible and ever-present to the market.
In the first six months, they were able to convert 17% of the healthcare total available market (TAM), that was 404 hospitals out of 2333. That is huge for a new technology.
For another sector, optoelectronics, they converted 75% of targets to closed-won in nine months!
How They Did It
The technical capabilities of Terminus were the easy part. Things like defining the KPIs, the tactics for segmentation, and the dynamic lists which will qualify and move people in and out of tactics all had a bit of a learning curve at first but became second nature.
The hard part for many companies just starting ABM is getting marketing together with sales and building a targeted account list.
Then you have to create content to fill a buyer-centric journey.
You need to map the content to where it needs to appear in the journey, keeping in mind that the journey for different departments within the same target company may have their own buyer’s journey with different messaging.
Blogging Strategy Changed
The blogging strategy was planned around the Terminus buyer’s journey topics. When a new blog was released that matched a target it was added to the Terminus cadence. Every time they did this, content engagement would spike “big time.”
About two weeks before launching other tactics, they timed the Terminus ads with blog content. This primed the pump. Phononic saw conversion rates climb significantly across all the different channels.
If you don’t have a huge ad budget, you can still benefit from a minimal spend and use Terminus’ tracking and analytics to measure how all the campaigns are interacting with the other tactics.
When the sales team made cold calls to the target companies, they got more appointments. The Phononic website got 78% more visitors from target accounts.
Selling the Sales Department on ABM
Sometimes ABM gets a lot of resistance from the sales department, but such numbers quickly gave ABM credibility because it helped to fill the sales pipeline.
They were able to get engagement with the target departments in the target companies and this softened the approach for the sales team.
Using such a targeted approach, Phononic was able to reduce advertising costs by 20%, while engaging 43% of the market that they were targeting.
To test their results, they ran LinkedIn ads with ABM vs. non-ABM. Fourteen percent of impressions were driven by ABM ads, but 54% of the clicks came from that.
With email, they saw an 80% lift in open-rate; 56% of those opens engaged with the content (clicking onto the website). The was a 46% increase in webinar attendance with 45% of the targeted accounts coming.
All of this is a clear indication that ABM ads support all other tactics.
It has accelerated the pipeline. Sales cycles that used to take nine months are now one month.
Keeping It Fresh
To keep the sales pipeline accelerating, you need to create a content pipeline. You can’t run the same ads over and over again. Prospects go ad blind.
Terminus allowed Phononic to rapidly prototype their messaging and cadences.
Phononic created an editorial calendar for ads, emails, and blog content for the whole year.
Englebretson set a limit of only two “rogue tactics” a month. That means he would only allow two such tactics to be dropped into the campaign. He believes that more than two a month means somebody isn’t thinking critically about the campaign.
New content and new strategies are necessary, but they all need to be working together cohesively.
Too Much Success
Phononic had a “challenge.” They were generating too many leads for the sales team to pursue.
Because the sales team itself had generated the target company list, the sales team knew that these leads were already-prequalified and warmed up.
The sales team squared their shoulders and just plowed through their list with spectacular results.
Too much success is a good problem to have.