Stephanie Kelly is the backbone of Terminus’ account-based marketing (ABM) efforts.
Stephanie Kelly joined Terminus as the Director of Marketing Ops and Demand Generation in April of 2016. In other words, she’s is our very own account-based marketing superhero. Stephanie owns Terminus’ technology stack, ABM data and reporting, and the account identification process. On top of all that, she’s also responsible for overseeing all our ABM campaigns.
With over 15 years of B2B marketing experience across the finance, IT, and marketing technology industries, Stephanie viscerally understands the challenges with lead-based marketing as well as the promise of account-based marketing. Most importantly, she has experience overcoming the technical and tactical challenges that moving to an account-based marketing strategy can present.
We recently launched the Account-Based Marketing Stack Grader, an interactive tool to help B2B marketers visualize and improve their ABM tech stacks. We’ll be interviewing marketers with varying levels of account-based experience about the technology their teams use to execute ABM.
With all her B2B marketing expertise, Stephanie was an obvious choice for our first interview. (And she sits next to me, making it easy for me corner her and pick her brain on martech.)
Terminus’ Account-Based Marketing Technology Stack
To begin, we had Stephanie grade the Terminus tech stack using the ABM Stack Grader.
As you can see, Terminus has a robust technology stack full of tools to help us identify target accounts, expand our reach to find key contacts within those accounts, engage with them and turn them into brand advocates, and measure our ABM success. Let’s hear from Stephanie about how these tools work together to fuel our account-based marketing strategy.
Walk us through a quick overview of the Terminus ABM stack.
I think of Salesforce, Pardot, WP Engine, and Terminus as the core of our ABM stack. With just these tools, I can run basic account-based marketing campaigns. Salesforce, a marketing automation tool, and a website are the backbone of any B2B marketing stack. Adding Terminus gives us the ability to extend our reach through the entire account, automate our ABM efforts, and reach the right decision-makers across the web with highly targeted digital ads.
When we were a brand new company, it was easier to identify accounts to target, but as we grow this is becoming more challenging. We’ve used Datanyze over the past year and recently added DiscoverOrg for more firepower. Our marketing and sales development teams use DiscoverOrg, LinkedIn, and Synthio to identify contact data for our target accounts and build out accounts.
We use a wide variety of engagement tools depending on the campaigns we’re running. For example, Vidyard and Uberflip allow us to utilize our video and content in a more personal and trackable way.
We also added BrightFunnel to help us better understand the impact of marketing’s efforts from first touch to closed-won, which is vital to multichannel ABM campaigns stretching across the entire buyer’s journey.
What is your favorite ABM tool in your stack?
I know I have to say it, but it’s true: Terminus!
Really, Terminus is my go-to for all of my campaigns. It’s so easy to get campaigns up and running. When working on a new campaign, the first thing I do after identifying the target accounts is get a Terminus campaign running. That way I’m warming up accounts while prepping the other aspects of my plan, whether that’s writing an SDR email cadence or working on a direct mail piece. Terminus amplifies the impact of all my other efforts, and I love that I can measure its impact on the campaign and the bottom line.
What other tools are highly important for your ABM efforts?
Apart from Terminus, I also lean heavily on PFL, SalesLoft, and Vidyard.
PFL – We’re using direct mail more than ever, and PFL makes ongoing execution much easier. While there is still a significant amount of set-up, PFL will automate the direct mail process with a connection to our Salesforce CRM that allows for a direct mail piece to be automatically triggered. This is a great complement to the stage-based automation that Terminus offers. When an account progresses from an early stage opportunity to a mid-stage opportunity, PFL will automatically send Account-Based Marketing for Dummies to that account.
SalesLoft – Our marketing team is closely aligned with our sales development team, so we coordinate campaigns with them regularly. SalesLoft is a great tool for ensuring that the message we’re delivering in our Terminus ads, direct mail, et cetera is aligned with what the SDRs are saying in their emails and calls.
Vidyard – Video has been a great asset for us. We find that it’s a great way to cut through the noise. We use video for our case studies and other content, create super casual videos for invites to events, and beyond. A fun campaign we ran last summer was inviting contacts at target accounts to #FlipMyFunnel’s one-year anniversary celebration. We assigned two SDRs to this campaigns and worked with them to create fun invitational videos. These videos made their outreach much more engaging and opened the door for phone calls and meetings. Vidyard helps us do video more easily and allows us to track its influence on the people we care about, so we’re not just tracking random views. Here’s an example of one of those videos:
All of these tools are part of the Cloud for ABM, which means that they work well together and connect to our Salesforce CRM, both of which are table stakes for executing account-based marketing.
So, you’ve mentioned Salesforce a few times. How do you ensure that your CRM is set up for account-based marketing?
When I joined Terminus in the spring of 2016, there were less than 40 people at the company, but it was growing really fast. By the end of 2016, we had more than doubled employee headcount and 5Xed our revenue. The company is still young, but we recognized we needed to make changes to better support our growth today and set us up for continued success.
Your CRM can be a powerful tool for growth or a hindrance to success, so getting it right is critical. However, I knew that if I came in and changed everything right away, it would be a disaster. I’ve had to move us piecemeal in the right direction, and we’re still getting there.
The most important component to this evolution is buy-in. The changes we’re making in Salesforce are almost always closely related to changes in process. If I don’t get buy-in from our sales and sales development teams, then we will not get the results we’re hoping for. Buy-in isn’t just about clearly dictating new guidelines; it’s about creating a working relationship that involves give and take as well as understanding the other person’s perspective. To do that, I regularly meet with our sales development lead and attend the sales team’s weekly meeting.
Salesforce is one of the most valuable resources for any B2B company, and it’s critical that I extract that value. While it can be challenging to identify accounts to target, the right processes can make it considerably easier. We spent a lot of money on tools to help us identify accounts — as you can see in our stack — but our Salesforce database is the most valuable to help us to determine which accounts to go after. The better Salesforce is set up, the easier it is to decide on target accounts.
I recommend investing in the quality of your data and processes that improve the integrity and management of that data.
What other advice do you have for choosing and implementing the right ABM technology?
There is a lot of good advice on the Internet about selecting marketing tech, but I often see people choosing technology based on the problem they’re solving. While this is important, people often forget that to make a true business case for a product, they need to understand — quantitatively — what the result will be after implementing the tool. That should include a clear plan of how you will use the tool and the value it will deliver.
When I came to Terminus, I noticed that we hadn’t fully implemented some of the tools that we had. This is common among fast-growing companies. Recently, I’ve been digging into Vidyard and Uberflip, incorporating their use into key initiatives and creating a cadence of using them so we can get the most out of our investment. Again, it goes back to process changes. You need a plan, and you need to make steady progress on getting better.
What is most difficult part of implementing an account-based marketing strategy?
There are two key challenges: defining success and having patience.
Defining success is different with ABM than with lead-based marketing strategies. Even within an organization that is on the cutting edge of account-based marketing, we sometimes struggle to not slip back into vanity metrics (form fills, web traffic, number of leads, and so on). We often have to stop and ask ourselves if we are measuring the right things and correctly assessing our impact.
While we haven’t eschewed the “old” metrics completely, we always go back to look at the impact on pipeline created and revenue generated. Everyone on our marketing team is aligned to at least one of the company’s KPIs: revenue, win rate, pipeline generated, and churn rate.
Having patience is the harder part, especially at a company that’s growing so quickly. It’s easy to jump to conclusions about the performance of an event or a campaign, but when you focus on bottom-line metrics, it can take longer to see the fruits of your labor. We’ve been taught this lesson a few times this year. For example, we had lower-than-expected attendance at an event from target accounts, but those accounts led to an outsized portion of pipeline generated.
What’s next for Terminus’ ABM programs and marketing technology stack in 2017?
There are three key areas we’re focusing on.
1. Consider adding a predictive tool to our ABM stack to help us identify which accounts to go after and when to strike.
2. Make our ABM efforts more targeted and personalized. After the past year of growth, we have the content and resources we need to take personalization to the next level and make our messages resonate more with prospects.
3. Launch ABM campaigns targeted towards our customers. Now that we have enough customers, we’re looking forward to running Terminus advertising campaigns targeted at customer accounts to help them get the most out of our product.
Grade Your Own Account-Based Marketing Stack
Thanks to Stephanie Kelly for sharing her perspective on Terminus’ account-based marketing technology stack! If you have any questions about how we use marketing technology here at Terminus, drop us a note in the comments.
Ready to see how your own martech stack stacks up? Try the interactive ABM Stack Grader by clicking the banner below.