As a SaaS company that markets to other SaaS companies, our marketing team is in a unique position: we’re a part of our own target market, which makes us the perfect guinea pig.
And, as a company that offers a full-funnel ABM solution, it only makes sense that we’re using an account-based approach to market to our ideal customers.
We practice what we preach – and we’ve practiced a lot. We don’t release a feature to our customer base until our marketing team has tested and approved it. This is commonly referred to as “drinking our own champagne” — and the Terminus marketing team has developed an affinity for our own bubbly. 🍾
The Terminus platform is a mainstay in our account-based marketing strategy. And as our product team has released new features, we’ve been able to roll those features into our ABM programs to create sophisticated ABM programs at scale.
This continued testing allows us to discover new use cases and inspire deeper conversations with our customers and future customers.
And, in the spirit of spirits, we wanted to pour you a glass of our champagne and give you a glimpse into how our team uses Terminus to execute our ABM programs. 🥂
The industry-accepted way to do ABM revolves around the TEAM framework:
- Target – use a combination of fit, engagement, and intent data to determine your list of named accounts.
- Engage – choose the right marketing channels, from display ads to email nurtures to content marketing initiatives.
- Activate – identify the moment when sales will get involved and drive the deal forward.
- Measure – determine what the success metric or KPI is.
We’ve organized this article around the same framework to give you a full-funnel view of our account-based efforts.
Account Selection and Tiering
The Terminus team takes a tiered approach to account segmentation that allows us to spend our marketing dollars and scale our ABM programs efficiently.
We start by putting together a quarterly Target Account List (TAL) in the Terminus Hub that is comprised of approximately 2,000 accounts that match our selection criteria, which includes firmographic and technographic data like:
- Company Size (we have a Commercial and Enterprise sales team and accounts are assigned out based on size and territory)
- Revenue (we’ll also take note if a company has recently completed a funding round, which indicates they’re growing quickly and may soon invest in new tech)
- MarTech Stack (are they currently using an ABM tool? Do they use tech that’s compatible with our platform?)
That first pass of basic segmentation gives us a pretty broad list of accounts to work with. We use tools like Datafox and Terminus Hub to accomplish this. The Hub’s ability to ingest first- and third-party data and prioritize our best-fit accounts makes segmentation fast and easy.
Once we’ve got a broad list of accounts, we break them into tiers:
- Tier 1 accounts are perfect ICP fits, similar to our highest value customers. Tier 1 also includes logos with strategic value.
- Tier 2 accounts are strong ICP fits but have a lower annual contract value (ACV)
- Tier 3 accounts fit most, but not all, ICP criteria. They’re worth pursuing but typically not worth investing significant resources to win their business.
Our top-tier accounts will receive the most attention and resources. These accounts are typically low-hanging fruit: they resemble our best customers, which means they’re more likely to find value from (and therefore buy) our product.
We enroll second- and third-tier accounts in simple awareness campaigns to warm them up, but we don’t actively invest outbound resources in targeting them. We will, however, monitor those accounts for key indicators (e.g. intent signals, engagement spikes, etc.) and enroll lower-tier accounts in mini-programs based on the signals they’re showing.
Since the Terminus advertising platform syncs with Salesforce and the Hub to dynamically pull accounts in and out of campaigns based on the campaign criteria we choose, these signal-driven campaigns don’t require a lot of lift on our part. This makes it easy to run air cover campaigns and ensure different segments of our TAL are seeing the right content at the right time.
We’ll also pull out micro-segments from our TAL and activate small-scale, 6-8 week experimental account-based campaigns. The accounts in these programs may not be showing intent or engagement signals, but they’ll match our basic fit criteria along with our experimental criteria. These smaller programs allow us to get more personalized with our messaging and test new approaches – which is what ABM is all about.
Here are some examples:
- Industry-specific campaigns (Tech, Manufacturing, Financial Services, etc.)
- Activity-specific campaigns (e.g. if we see that an account is hiring for an ABM-related job)
- Competitive campaigns (accounts that are using a competitive tool)
- Stage-based campaigns (targeting accounts in various stages of the funnel)
Once we’ve got our lists finalized, we use a variety of channels to engage them. Terminus ads are a ubiquitous presence in every campaign.
At any given time we’re running dozens of display campaigns through the Terminus advertising platform. Our tool allows us to layer Salesforce and Hub data for hyper-targeted campaigns that pull in contact- and account-level information so we use our ad budget efficiently and get in front of the right people. It also allows us to target and retarget anonymous visitors from target accounts who haven’t been matched to a contact yet.
We execute a number of display campaigns through Terminus across our best-in-class display network and LinkedIn:
- Retargeting: we retarget visitors to high-value pages, like our platform page
- Dynamic Ad Nurtures
- Stage-based campaigns that are triggered based on where an account is in the funnel
- Some examples of stage-based ads are:
- Ads that run to open opportunities
- Ads that run to customers approaching their renewal date
- Ads that run to customers that are not utilizing a specific Terminus feature
- Ads that run to accounts that never sat a demo
- Note: Whereas most companies turn off their marketing campaigns when new opportunities are created, we don’t recommend this. In fact, we find that we’re able to shorten the sales cycle by turning up spend and opening more channels when an account is nearing the end of the buying cycle. Why does it work? Well, we know this is the time when competitors are also trying to get in front of them. By owning the airwaves, we’re able to elbow our competition out of the way before they’re even considered.
- Some examples of stage-based ads are:
- Intent-based campaigns that are triggered when an account shows an intent spike based on a predetermined topic (e.g. “Account-based marketing”)
- Stage-based campaigns that are triggered based on where an account is in the funnel
- Standard: this is a typical display campaign where we rotate our high-performing content (eBooks, webinars, reports) to our account lists to drive a response
- We’ll also run ads for each unique ABM program we run with content or case studies that are specific to that program (e.g. we’ll run ads with an invite to a webinar for B2B manufacturers in our Manufacturing program)
- 1:1 ads: bespoke ad sets that are tailored to an individual account and personalized to match their ABM use case, company name, etc.
- We use these in the middle of the funnel once our sales team has had the chance to meet with and gain insights from the account
As a rule of thumb, we try to refresh our creative on our campaigns pretty frequently (every 30-60 days). We also use dynamic campaigns to move accounts through different tactics in 30-day increments, so the creative they see is changing every 30 days regardless. We also try to use a combination of static and animated ads in our display campaigns.
Although Terminus doesn’t offer account-based direct mail automation (yet!), we do use direct mail in a lot of our outbound efforts. And we follow up on those direct mail sends with coordinated display campaigns. Whatever theme or imagery is tied to the direct mail is shared across emails, landing pages, and ads. We use Sendoso and PFL for our direct mail needs. You can check out a few examples of our favorite direct mail campaigns in our Definitive Guide to Account Based Marketing Tactics:
It’s no secret that aligned sales and marketing teams outperform their misaligned counterparts. Data backs it up: aligned teams will drive, on average, over 200% more revenue. But that alignment is hard to achieve.
Marketing-sales alignment is a constant work-in-progress at Terminus. We’re fortunate to have dedicated leadership across both teams that are always open to new, more efficient ways to collaborate.
We accomplish this alignment with a combination of tech and manual processes. The Terminus platform delivers our reps full visibility into every marketing and sales touchpoint across an account – from anonymous web traffic, to email responses, to live events and interactions. This info is all stored in a dedicated Account Insights section in Salesforce, so our reps don’t have to juggle multiple tools to keep a pulse on their accounts.
Beyond that integration, Terminus also sends weekly alerts that show which of a rep’s owned accounts are visiting our site at a higher than normal rate, as well as researching relevant topics (like Terminus, our competitors, or ABM-related keywords).
Even though we rely heavily on our tech stack to streamline our sales activation efforts, we also prioritize in-person interactions to better foster an environment of collaboration and communication.
The marketing team will host enablement sessions for every new ABM program we launch and arm our sales team with:
- 1:1 email templates
- Core messaging overview
- Ad examples
- Program timelines
We have weekly or biweekly meetings with our sales reps to get feedback on their experience with new programs and encourage near-constant communication via Slack or face-to-face chats.
Terminus Account Scorecard
Terminus offers an absolute powerhouse of a measurement suite that makes it easy to report on the metrics that matter most to our CMO.
Since we’re all-in on ABM, we don’t focus that much on leads — and since traditional reporting tools don’t support most account-based metrics, we had to build those measurement capabilities ourselves.
Our marketing and sales teams are jointly responsible for our pipeline and revenue goals, so it’s imperative that our performance reports reflect that. The Terminus platform helps us track and measure everything we’re doing so we can report up to our leadership team.
Our Account Scorecard gives a high-level view of how marketing activities are influencing all things pipeline: velocity, account engagement, closed-won rate, etc.
We can dig in further with our Opportunity Journey report to see which activities influenced which deals. Our Campaign Analytics show us channel views of how individual channels are performing so we can optimize by channel and see which channels are driving the most impact across the opportunity journey.
Finally, our new Marketing Influence Report shows us trend reports in addition to granular reports highlighting how individual marketing programs are influencing pipeline and revenue. This is probably our personal favorite. When we got access to it, our Director of Demand Gen described his reaction as (and I quote), “giddy with excitement”.
Being able to dig into program-level metrics has opened our eyes to an entirely new set of data that’s invaluable to our team when making campaign optimizations and strategizing for new ABM programs.
It’s also helped us prove the value of ABM in our own organization: we were able to use these reports to show that our ABM micro-programs double engagement rates compared to programs that run to our entire TAL (and in some cases tripled the engagement). We also see double and triple the conversion rates.
These easily digestible, to-the-point reports show that our ABM programs are driving revenue quicker and more efficiently than our non-ABM programs.
You can see some samples below:
Bringing It All Together: Terminus On Terminus
2020 is going to be a big year for us – our product team is hard at work rolling out even more updates, including expansions to our data and channel partnerships, to make Terminus the best account-based orchestration platform in the market.
Selfishly, I’m excited because it means our marketing team will get our hands on powerful new features. But of course, it also means our customers will be able to further supercharge their account-based efforts.
As these new features roll out, we’ll return to this article to update our Terminus use cases so you can continue to get a behind-the-scenes look at how we use our own platform to power our ABM programs.