This post is based off a podcast with Kim Hajec. If you’d like to listen to the full episode, you can check it out here and below!
ABM is new. But it’s also nothing new.
Sales reps have been doing ABM for years. What is new is that we now have insights that the sales reps have traditionally maintained through their relationships. Traditionally, sales reps owned the insights and knowledge and relationships that have allowed for personalized discussions. We marketers have just claimed the concept.
So how do we fuel new growth through a method that we’ve been using for years?
Kim Hajec has the answer, and it all has to do with your MarTech tools.
Times Have Changed
Technology has finally caught up. The world of marketing has changed dramatically. Consumers don’t purchase in the same way that they used to anymore. Marketers have endless access to new data and insight. And sales is more reliant on marketing than ever before.
Yesterday’s Roles of Marketing & Sales
In Yesterday’s world, we as marketers would collect all of the leads through:
- Trade Shows
- Email Campaigns
- Direct Mail
We’d then toss whatever leads we got over the wall to sales, who basically do Account-Based Marketing. They’d filter through the leads. They’d pull out any that were in an industry they’d seen success in. Or, if they were currently working on somebody in an industry they were familiar with, they’d go after leads in a similar way that they previously had success in.
Today’s Roles of Marketing & Sales
In today’s world, our sales teams expect that we tie everything up with neat bows. We desperately need to align with sales more than ever before. As you acquire more and more MarTech tools, it’s going to be even more important that we as Marketers carry the ball as far as we can before handing it off to them.
This means that you must collect, educate, nurture, sell and prep through the waters of:
- Content downloads
- Video views
- Social media such as LinkedIn
But you may be wondering – How do you get off of the ground?
How to Get Off of the Ground
I’m sure that as you read this, you have some form of MarTech installed in your organization. But the reality is, there are a lot of challenges.
For example, there are all sorts of different challenges we are facing day-in-and-day-out as Marketers, that we have to convince the entire organization of. Or, we equip sales representatives with the tools to tackle these challenges but they revert back to what they know worked for them in the past. Those old process they are accustomed to don’t work anymore. Because as we said, the technology is different, buying is different, the sales cycle is different.
However, we also need our own reality check.
In order for you as a Marketer to fully deploy the MarTech tools in the way they need to be deployed, Kim says that “it’s not about Marketing tools anymore. It’s about organizational tools.” In fact, the whole organization needs these MarTech tools, not just Sales and Marketing.
“It’s not about marketing tools anymore. It’s about organizational tools.” – Kim Hajec
Where to Begin
In order to figure out where they should start tackling their challenges, Kim said they referred to the Gartner Digital Marketing Transit Map. And as she said quite appropriately, “This is why we are confused. This is why we have no idea where to start”. Don’t be mistaken. The map is a fantastic reference piece and Gartner did an excellent job in constructing it.
However, it’s added here in this post because it highlights something critical you must consider.
We can’t be good at everything.
Most people don’t have 60 people in their marketing department. Because we don’t, there’s no way we can become masters each and every single direction that Gartner lays out.
So where do you begin?
Kim suggests that you go all the way back to the beginning.
Start with the basics.
Refine What is Familiar
Start to refine what is familiar to the organization out of the gate.
Get your basic, fundamental tools in place. They need to be in place, working by themselves towards, helping you get to your end goal. Building this foundation will take time, even months to get fully off the ground. But it’s critical that you take care of the basics before you go full fledge into ABM. Kim suggests that you and your organization focus on the following four fundamentals.
Set the process in motion by cleaning up your website
As counterintuitive as it may seem, you should focus on optimizing the user experience.
Make sure that every page is loading nicely. Make sure that your site is engaging. And most importantly, make sure that your website’s architecture is built in such a way that supports your end goal.
Once all of the key ingredients, the ‘meat and potatoes’ of your website, have been fully taken care of, you can move on to the next fundamental.
These tools are critical for making marketing decisions.
They are so critical in fact, that you can’t possibly thrive in today’s marketing environment without them. For those of you unfamiliar, their job is simple – collect, distribute and analyze your prospects, leads, and sales. The issue is that they take immense amounts of time to propagate through your entire network. Again, it may take months, but it will be all worth it when this pillar is set in stone.
At this point, you should have your website in place. You should have your CRM in place. Both of these basics of doing the right things help your work move towards the end goal.
But what should you do as far as content?
This is where ABM starts to come into play if you’re going down that path. Whatever industry you’re apart of, you must create content that is meaningful to your target audience. And without a doubt, the previous fundamentals should help guide you to that end.
And remember – Content creation never ends. But, each piece should also have an anticipated shelf life.
So what to do when content has reached its expiration?
When it comes to investing in technology to this extent, it doesn’t have to be software.
In other words, it could be investing in a person that really understands technology. In focusing all of their efforts on SEO and SEM, they can effectively get your organization to the next level, very, very quickly.
Perhaps next level could mean ‘10 months from now’, as was the case for the Tungsten Network.
10 Months Later: Solid MarTech Foundation
Kim said that it took her organization about 10 months to fully implement the MarTech foundation, based on the aforementioned fundamentals.
Here’s what their Marketing Stack was comprised of:
- Dragon search
- Hackett Group
- Google Analytics
- Crazy Egg
These may not perfectly suit the suite for your organization. But it was essential that they started with this foundation.
After almost a years time, they were ready to take on some of the very niche products, helping them soar to the next level and start to the conversation about switching to pure ABM.
Whereas everything used to be very linear, it doesn’t work that way anymore.
It’s not about pushing content or prospects down the funnel anymore. It’s about when your target audience is ready to engage, are you there in front of them, ready to engage and educate them?
But for MarTech tools to be a success in your organization, you must track, track, track. For example, as soon as your start implementing programs and technology, it’s paramount that you track the journey of a prospect that goes through the system. You can then tweak content purchases and development, based on those findings. That applies across the board of your foundation.
Try something new.
Go back to the fundamentals.
Somethings will work. Somethings will definitely fail.
Continue investing in MarTech.
Partner with sales. Be patient with sales.
Track, track, track.
If it doesn’t work – move on.
But remember, it’s not about marketing tools anymore. It’s about tools for the whole organization.