The Latest from the ABM Experts
December 15, 2017
#OneTeam: A True Tale of Account-Based Marketing Transformation
At Terminus, we’re going through an account-based marketing transformation.
During my two years at Terminus, I’ve witnessed firsthand how our marketing and sales team have worked together to achieve account-based marketing success. But no one is perfect at ABM, and we’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way. Now, we want to share our story with you.
This is the story of #OneTeam: A True Tale of Account-Based Marketing Transformation. Replay our webinar on demand and read through this post to learn how Terminus came together as one unified revenue team with common goals.
Ultimately, our #OneTeam is composed of everyone at Terminus who is dedicated to growing revenue, building a best-in-class ABM platform, and making our customers ABM heroes in their own organizations — but with over 120 full-time “Terminators,” we unfortunately couldn’t make a cartoon for everyone. At the core of our #OneTeam are:
- Peter, the Marketing Master
- Todd, the Suave Sales Executive
- The Marketing Wizards, Steph and Madison
- From sales, our Front Line Sales Leader, Tonni, and our SDR Squad Leader, Lucas
- Our Curmudgeon CEO, Eric (Don’t worry, he came up with the idea of calling himself the curmudgeon.)
Here’s the story of our #OneTeam ABM journey.
When Peter joined Terminus as our VP of Marketing in June, he saw some immediate opportunities for improveming our account-based strategy. The biggest opportunity was that we need a better way to identify target accounts and work together to progress them through our funnel.
“I was confident to my core that this was going to have a huge impact on the company,” Peter said. “Todd, my counterpart in sales, knew this as well.”
Todd, who became Chief Revenue Officer at Terminus in January of this year,knew it wasn’t just about account selection and improving our conversion rates; we also needed to be more efficient with our time. Our sales leaders were asking for more support from marketing so they could stop wasting time on poor-fit accounts.
We were already doing ABM, but we needed to do more to operationalize it. We were taking a high-volume approach to account-based marketing, and this allowed us to grow quickly. However, targeting too many accounts at once is unsustainable and inefficient, and on top of that, we weren’t fully aligned as #OneTeam on our account-based processes.
The key here was that we needed to be “drinking our own champagne” to be incredible at ABM. We knew our high-volume, low-conversion model just wasn’t going to be sustainable for our business. So we took back control by focusing on the right accounts to boost our conversion rates and increase efficiencies through the entire sales process. We did this by agreeing to work only good-fit accounts that match our ideal customer profile.
Lucky for us, Peter had already figured out the “secret formula for account-based marketing” with his previous #OneTeam, including his awesome ABM collaborator, Kristen Wendel. The Terminus #OneTeam was ready to take on the challenge of finding the best-fit accounts demonstrating a propensity to buy and then engage those accounts to drive new pipeline and revenue for sales.
The way we operate now is to only focus on accounts that fit our ICP and have a high predictive score. We use Bombora intent data and web engagement data in addition to inbound alerts to understand when our target accounts are in-market for a solution like ours and when they’re interested in Terminus specifically. This improves the quality of our funnel, and it actually widens it because we’re not running our business off of form fills; we’re running it off of data with engagement at its core.
This means we can spend more time focusing on accounts that are the most interested and most likely to buy, delivering them high-value content and a personalized buying experience.
We knew it would be an arduous road ahead toward best-in-class ABM, but the team was prepared.
The key here is that we had to be brave about our ABM transformation. As the people who are accountable for the entire organization’s revenue number, our Marketing Master and Suave Sales Leader had to act and be decisive.
Peter explained, “I always felt equal ownership with Todd around pipeline creation and revenue. It was really Todd and I getting together, figuring out the model, and going with it. Our new approach to going after target accounts started with Eric, our CEO, asking me, ‘What do you need in your new job at Terminus?'”
Todd added, “Our CEO did ask a lot of tough questions, but he gave his buy-in. Ultimately, he saw the vision and alignment between Peter and I and knew we were on the right path. Peter and I did a fist bump in the hall, and the rest was history.”
So now that Peter and Todd had gotten buy-in from our Curmudgeon CEO, the ABM Wizards really got to work. It was time for the marketing team to actually operationalize this Fit + Intent + Engagement model.
Once we got the technology in place — Bombora, EverString, and Terminus — we were ready to roll. We used it to select our target accounts, create a process for dynamically triggering “plays” and alerting the sales team to new hot accounts, and rework our Terminus account-based advertising campaigns to orchestrate them with other tactics, such as LinkedIn ads.
But it wasn’t always easy. We didn’t have everything figured out from day one, but every week we were moving fast, and every day we were getting better. As #OneTeam, we knew we’d have hurdles along the way. It’s a challenge to implement a new account-based marketing strategy.
[Tweet “The #1 thing with working as #OneTeam for #ABM is open communication.”]
Open communication has been a huge part of our #OneTeam transformation. As Peter put it, it was important for us to get feedback from the team members and continually be improving.
“For example, we refined our predictive model a few times in this whole journey, which required us going back to keep learning and get better at what we were doing to make sure marketing and the SDRs were working on the right accounts,” Peter said. “We knew this would work, and we had to keep encouraging the team to move forward.”
The most important thing here is that we were helping each other, listening to feedback, and supporting people who were struggling. Without this, #OneTeam wouldn’t have worked. When you make the jump to account-based marketing as #OneTeam, you have to be all in. There’s no turning back.
Some days weren’t easy. We solved this with coaching and focusing on the strengths of our sales team.
Our marketing and sales leaders scheduled frequent team meetings and one-on-one time with our SDRs, getting together to see where there were areas for opportunity. Coaching is a big focus for us because each team member has their own unique strengths — talking on the phone, researching their target accounts, and making personalized videos, for example. Our SDR and sales team managers spend a lot of time on training and providing our team members the resources they need to use those skills to march toward our #OneTeam goals.
One of our rockstar SDRs, Morgan, explained that it took time for the SDRs to see tangible results — but when the results started rolling in, they all bought in.
For them, this new process means that they’ve gained four hours back in their day that they used to spend prospecting — because all that work is now done by our Marketing Wizards. So now, the SDRs have time to really improve their outreach and personalize each email they send and every phone call they make.
As our Suave Sales Leader said, “All of this operational magic truly made a huge difference for our AEs. Now they’re only spending time with prospects who are the right fit, leading to increases in conversion, reduced sales cycles, and an increase in ACV. #OneTeam, fist bump!”
Our Marketing Master added, “It’s one thing to spin up ABM theory. It’s another thing to change a whole company’s process and actually execute and have the whole team relying on you and know what you’re doing.”
Excuse the language, but this sh*t can be hard! That’s the reality with ABM.
Reality is execution.
The reality for sales means hitting their weekly appointment quota, building our pipeline, and closing deals.
The reality for marketing means uncovering the right accounts and building out omnichannel marketing campaigns to generate interest and engagement.
There’s no way to get through an account-based marketing transformation like this unless you’re smart, confident, and have everyone working together as #OneTeam.
The awesome thing about our team at Terminus is that people weren’t shy about providing feedback and talking about their pain points. Through these fearless conversations, marketing understands what they need to deliver for sales to be successful.
We had the operational model. We knew what our benchmarks were, and we knew what our goals were. We were executing on the plan.
As Peter said, “After a while, the scary stuff didn’t seem so scary because data was showing that we were trending in a really positive way. Our efficiency was up. We saw quickly that with everyone onboard and working together as #OneTeam, we were making fantastic progress and tracking towards our revenue goal.”
ABM Lessons Learned
Our Marketing Master, Peter, has an important key takeaway for B2B marketers: be brave and lead.
“Sales needs your help. You can make all the difference in the world to your organization,” Peter explained. “You can add a lot more value than counting leads and website visitors. We’re ushering in a new era of brave marketers, and I am sure that every salesperson will appreciate this renewed support from marketing.”
#OneTeam! Fist bump! Go marketers!
That being said, account-based marketing is impossible to do without CEO support. We like to say around here that the buck stops with the CEO. Marketers cannot execute on innovative new ideas with account-based marketing if they’re held accountable to the same old lead-based metrics.
And finally, Peter says, “You have to attack an ABM transformation with a mindset of continuous improvement. You have to be open to the fact in the first day, the first month, you will learn something that’s new and you have to adapt. You will have to figure out.”
But you will figure it out. And the results will be worth it.
Now, check out our killer results from doing account-based marketing as #OneTeam.
Getting the whole team aligned on the right account-based metrics was critical to our success. We asked, how much pipeline and revenue are coming from target accounts? How many of those accounts are actually engaged with us? What are the conversion rates throughout the sales cycle, and how can we optimize for them?
As you can see, all our key metrics are up. Our win rates, conversion rates, and deal sizes have increased significantly, and we’ve shortened our cycle by 20 days using account-based marketing.
[Tweet “Terminus shortened their sales cycle by 20 days with #ABM.”]
The important thing is that the entire #OneTeam is held accountable for the same metrics and has access to the same data. It’s time for the era of marketing and sales showing up to a meeting with different numbers to end.
Through a #OneTeam approach for account-based marketing, there is beautiful, seamless alignment between marketing and sales.