This post is based off a podcast with Masha Finkelstein of Google. If you’d like to read the summary, you’re on the right page. If you’d like to listen to the full episode, you can check it out here!
A marketer’s job is getting harder every single day. There’s always something new tool to learn or some new strategy to implement.
A lot of people are talking about account-based marketing. A lot of people are doing account-based marketing. Masha Finkelstein is not only doing ABM, but sleeping, eating, and breathing ABM.
Masha just joined Google’s SMB Growth Google Cloud team and was previously Head of Growth for BetterWorks. She has been involved in account-based marketing from the beginning of her career, long before the term ABM ever saw the explosive growth it’s seen lately.
On a recent episode of the #FlipMyFunnel Podcast, we sat down with Masha and discussed the way ABM applies to everyday life, measuring ABM success, and advice for those ready to break into the world of ABM.
ABM in Everyday Life
Say you just moved to a new town, you don’t know anybody, and are looking to make friends. You never know if you’re going to be close friends with somebody, so you take the ABM approach.
First, you figure out your ideal friend profile. You identify a set of interests, hobbies, or traits that you desire in a friend.
Second, you look through your “network” of acquaintances to see which of the people in that group have compatible traits.
Third, you talk to them. You talk to their friends. You show them that you have those same traits.
Instead of making friends with to 100+ people, you zero in on the people who match the traits you desire in a friend.
Lastly, you see which of those people have the intent of making new friends, and begin to explore things beyond your initial shared interests.
The big question in ABM, as well as life, is pretty simple:
Are you creating deeper relationships with the right people?
Whether it’s buying a new home, a new car, or making friends, all of life is relationships. And ABM is not just about marketing. At its core, it is intrinsically human, because you’re trying to form relationships.
What matters is, are we creating deeper relationships with the right people? If we are, we’re going to create more engagement.
It’s not about selling your product; it’s about engagement.
“There’s a lot of talk about how ABM is used in prospecting and bringing in new customers. But not many people talk about upselling and cross-sell.” – Masha Finkelstein
Measuring ABM Success with F.I.R.E.
Once you’ve bought into ABM, the question remains: How do you define success? What does a successful ABM program look like?
Start with the accounts that are a good fit. Use predictive scoring to figure out who’s the best fit for your organization and pursue those accounts.
Once you’ve identified the accounts that are a good fit, much like in making friends, you want to establish who of those accounts are looking to engage with you.
Tools like Bombora for search intent are a good start, as is website traffic. When people start reading product and solution pages, it means they probably have buying intent.
Are you hitting the right people more than everybody else? Are you getting in front of the accounts that matter the most to you?
Look at your engagement rates within those target accounts. Look at who is actively engaging with you and moving beyond simple interest, to action.
The more people you can get involved in the same accounts, the better off you’ll be in the long run.
How many of the accounts that you’re pursuing are actually becoming customers?
“Customers are the best ABM targets because they already know you, and they already know your product.” – Masha Finkelstein
When you do ABM, you are going to have the opportunity to have a higher value for the same account that you would likely not have without ABM.
Challenges with ABM
ABM is not without its hurdles. As with everything else in life, you’ll hit roadblocks and bumps along the way.
One of the most significant challenges is change management.
People are used to thinking about marketing and sales in a certain way. Getting people, especially non-marketers, to look at the traditional sales and marketing roles in a different way than the norm is difficult.
Your inside sales folks are focusing on leads. You’ve got to get them to see that it’s not the lead that matters, but the account. It’s a culture shift, but one that, at the end of the day, is going to result in bigger sized deals for your organization, which is going to make the people at the top very happy.
What You Need to Get Started
Company-wide buy-in. Especially buy-in driven by your executive team. Because at the end of the day, ABM is not just another marketing campaign. It’s not a flash-in-the-pan new tool.
It’s an entirely new way of doing business. It’s a strategic initiative that will change the core fundamentals of your business.
Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid to jump in and simply start. There will be a learning curve, but you’ll see growth within your accounts that you never thought possible.