The Latest from the ABM Experts
July 23, 2019
Making Your Data Actually Work For You
Written by Sangram Vajre
What if you could put all those years of collecting data right to work? (And what would you do if it told you to take an account-based strategy for your entire department?)
Here’s what we’re unpacking today:
- How to leverage your data to know whether you’re wasting 39% of your time
- Using data to convince marketing and sales that you need to completely flip the funnel
- Keeping tech really lean
- Being as clever as you can about how you invest and how you translate that into…more data
This post is based on a podcast with Nicola Frazer-Reid. If you’d like to listen to the full episode, you can check it out here and below.
Identify core target segments:
Spigit has always been laser focused on a narrowly defined market, meaning that taking an account-based marketing approach came from two truths: a pretty small marketing team and finite resources.
“For us, identifying core target segments was down to being a small team and prioritizing the resources that we had,” Nicola said.
One of their best resources was the years’ worth of data they’d collected through the ordinary course of doing business. “Our starting point was simply to look at where we converted opportunities at the highest rate,” Nicola explained.
She found that they had eight clear high converting industries. Outside of the top eight, the other industries were taking up 39% of their time but only yielding a 2% conversion rate.
With numbers like that, an account-based strategy made the most sense. Nicola refocused her team on the top eight industries that formed the basis of our target account list. Now when they periodically run the numbers again, they do so with the attitude of focusing on the right segments. “What we found is that those top industries have remained at the top and have continued to earn the focus of our time,” she said.
Keep sharing data internally:
Identifying a need and persuading both marketing and sales to jump on board an entirely new strategy are two different things.
“It’s not easy,” Nicola said, referring to persuading her team. “Ultimately it all came down to data. It was about exposing the data to the teams.”
Sales became convinced when they saw that 39% of their time was arguably being wasted on accounts that didn’t convert or converted with a very low rate.
Despite being a relatively small company with a small target list, there wasn’t any fear that they would run out of accounts. “Our target account list was around four and a half thousand accounts globally,” Nicola said.
While she used data to convince her teams initially, Nicola also had to continue to follow up with the numbers in terms of progress when they actually started executing the new strategy.
“Continuing to share the data around the conversion rates as they were changing and improving through our focus on account-based marketing and account-based selling really benefited us,” Nicola said. The transparency and visibility was very motivating internally as the new data began to accrue.
Use your resources:
Spigit was able to deploy its ABM strategy with minimal additional technology beyond Salesforce and Marketo.
As a small company, it has always needed to be conservative with its marketing tech stack and “really clever about where we invested in technology,” Nicola said, mentioning the temptation of exciting new platforms. “You have to check yourself sometimes and think, Is this right for us right now?” she said.
Instead of taking away from their programs budget to redirect into marketing, Spigit chose deliberately to invest in additional Marketo modules to leverage the tech they already had. “We’ve deliberately tried to think about which tools provide us with fascinating capabilities and insights, but capabilities and insights that we can truly utilize and action on,” Nicola said.
She was also sensitive to whether a big ABM platform would be too much, too little, or too early. When they ran a pilot in 2016, they got interesting data that didn’t have much impact on their marketing organization.
They did usefully invest in lead-to-account matching tools. “Where we have invested has been very much around being as efficient as we possibly can as a team right now, to enable us to scale in the future,” Nicola said.
With investment as precise as account targeting, Nicola was able to use the data to discern which types of technology would be a help or a hindrance–or something to acquire down the road. Choosing tech based on turning data into actionable tasks provided clarity about the tools that would be the right fit.
“The most important thing as you set out on your ABM journey is thinking early on about how you are going to measure success,” Nicola said.
- Think through what the core metrics are going to be
- Give yourself a benchmark to track your progress
- Be realistic about what makes sense for your company
- Start with the data
“Start with thoughts or ideas around what account-based marketing looks like for your organization until you understand what that data is telling you,” Nicola said.
Don’t fall for exciting tech that you don’t need, either. “It’s really easy to get overexcited and carried away, but think about what’s scalable for your team and will allow you to increase impact, rather than limiting it by focusing too much on specific companies or segments,” she said.