Marty once launched his own ad agency that he named Two Bananas. Today, he’s the CMO at Clear Software in Indiana. I knew he was the perfect person to join me today to discuss a day in the life of a CMO. Someone who has truly been there and done that. Especially when it comes to getting his sales team to buy into trying something totally new and different: ABM.
Here’s what we’re unpacking today:
- Challenges you face when starting ABM
- Overcoming the fear of trying something new
- Getting buy in from your sales team
- Why ABM isn’t for marketers
- Why you can’t do ABM in a vacuum
This post is based on a podcast with Marty Thompson. If you’d like to listen to the full episode, you can check it out here and below.
People spend an ungodly amount of time, energy and money on logos and names for their company. As a marketer, what your thoughts on the resources that should be spent?
Marty: I think as marketers, we at times put a little too much emphasis, especially with young companies, to try to come up with a slick logo and a slick company name. I think you grow into those.
If you have something that works as your company grows and your brand sprouts wings then let it start to fly. And as you go one, it becomes more important. And obviously as companies mature they’ll go through those painful processes where they’ll completely change their logos for better or for worse.
Can you give the listeners some idea of the challenges they might face (and how to address those challenges) if they’re about to start ABM?
Marty: So I think one of the big challenges might be that you’ll have people in the organization that say that ABM has been around forever.So, what’s so new about Terminus? But, that’s really a question that’s important for that individual to answer themselves.
You need to do the research. Do the homework. Put the time into basically creating a storyboard or playbook that you can go into your organization and help to evangelize the use of ABM because it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It only works well if everything else in your organization works well, and you’re leveraging all of it as one cohesive unit.
So, I went back to content. Very important.
But it’s also important that the communication channels you have between marketing and sales and pre sales, and also with your existing customers is working really well. It’s also very important that your sales team understands ABM and how they should be using it. Because you’re getting a lot of extremely rich data back from the process.
Early on, we made a commitment that, me as the head of marketing and our sales group, everyone would understand the data and the insights that we get back from our tactics and our campaigns. If you don’t do that everyone is missing out.
So, it’s really critical to spend the time to really understand what those campaigns, what those tactics, what kind of information they’re providing you and how you should be acting upon that.
Did you go through any new metrics that you started to present that maybe you or the organization wasn’t bought into before?
Marty: Well, like a lot of companies, we still use the MQL SQL pathway, but we add on some metrics from Terminus that help us better understand what’s actually happening out there. Because if I have a company that’s included in one of our tactics and I know they’re coming to my website and they’re going exactly to these two webpages and I know they’re consuming content, I want to know if there is additional data that I can get from that tactic that’s going to help inform the sales people.
There are two triggers that we use to basically answer two questions:
One is: at what level of engagement do we deem is the right opportunity to do other stuff?
The second one is: when is something not working? And that’s the reality of this business. It’s the reality of the world. Sometimes things don’t work. It doesn’t mean we’re not doing a good job or we’re bad people. Sometimes they just don’t work. And it’s really critical that any company and any marketing person within that company get comfortable with acknowledging something like that and then trying something different.
Now, how important was it for you to get your sales team bought into this whole strategy?
Marty: Oh, I think it’s critical. This really isn’t for me or for the marketers. It really is for the sales people. So, it’s critical to have their buy in. And we’ve never had any doubts whatsoever. Thankfully, the sales team has never had one inkling of, “Why do we need to do this?”
First, one thing you said several times was do not be afraid. And I love that because I feel people are driven by fear. In a good way or a bad way sometimes, people just don’t want to do things because they’re afraid.They want 50 other examples before they ever touch something that’s new. But if you really go talk to your sales team, as you said, they will probably say, “Why didn’t you do that last year, I needed this, like, yesterday.” So, don’t be afraid. Go work with your sales team!
Second, the other thing you said, which I 1,000 percent agree with, is that you cannot do account based, or you cannot do marketing itself, in a vacuum. It doesn’t exist. It’s not going to work. You’ll have issues. You might feel you have done really well, but if your sales and marketing team is not fully trusting each other, and you’re doing things in a vacuum, sooner or later, it’s going to catch up to you. And that’s happened to me. I have been there, done that, and I burned myself in the process, so don’t do that.
Finally, I love when you said that ABM is not actually for marketers, it’s actually for sales. We just happened to carry the torch and do, which is in our power of doing, but it’s actually for sales. I love that part. I’m so glad you said that.
I think the biggest challenge is, to not think of ABM as just a tool. Think of it as an integral part of your entire process.
Most organizations have a sales methodology, a marketing program set up, and they’ve got the marketing plan they’re executing. So, just think about how you’re going to incorporate ABM into everything you’re already doing. It becomes a lot easier when you look at it from that perspective.
In other words, don’t look at it as a tool that exists in a vacuum. Think about how you can weave it into everything that you’re doing. And don’t be afraid to try it and go after it.