PGi uses account-based marketing (ABM) to sell cutting-edge collaboration software to mid-enterprise companies.
PGi is a leader in web conferencing and collaboration with products in audio, web, and video conferencing, webinar and webcasting, and team workspace and project management. They serve some of the largest enterprise companies in the world including Amazon, SAP, and Mercedes-Benz.
PGi began their account-based marketing journey nearly 12 months ago, and it has since become a key focus of their marketing strategy. I had the chance to learn from Cheryl Hanley, Sr. Director of Demand Generation at PGi, on how they built their ABM technology stack.
With 20 years of B2B marketing experience, Cheryl Hanley has always been on the cutting edge of marketing strategy. At PGi, she plays a key role in developing and implementing their account-based marketing efforts.
PGi graded their account-based marketing technology stack using the ABM Stack Grader and received an Intermediate score. I want to emphasize that this score doesn’t reflect their ABM competency, but rather the sophistication of their martech stack.
As anyone who has worked at an enterprise business knows, it takes time to implement new strategies and processes. Cheryl and the rest of the marketing team at PGi are a case study in how to invest in technology at a pace that reflects their rate of organizational change. Let’s learn how they’ve done it in Cheryl’s own words.
Tell us about your ABM journey at PGi.
Right now, our marketing team is heavily focused on ABM. A little over a year ago, it was quite different. We were your typical, straight-up lead gen focused team. We leaned heavily on the SiriusDecisions Demand Waterfall model. We were not being as targeted with our efforts, and we realized we needed to get focused on accounts that mattered most to our sales team.
That’s when we made the shift to ABM.
Over the last few years, our product portfolio has expanded, which has led us to focus more on a land and expand model. Account-based marketing is perfect for this.
With ABM, sales and marketing are aligned on who we need to market to. We’ve also gone deep into better understanding the personas at our target accounts. While sales has been loosely focused on a firmographic segment by channel, they haven’t gone to the depth marketing has, focusing on target accounts and personas.
What was the first step of your account-based marketing strategy?
We created our first target lists to feed one channel: North American field sales. We found firms that fit our firmographic profile and made sure they were in our Salesforce CRM. From that first list, we began engaging. Since then, we’ve become much more sophisticated with our programs and the ABM technology that supports them.
How did you build your ABM stack? How do you use each tool?
We started with Madison Logic for syndicating content against our ABM list. They would provide us with leads that met a specific profile fit against our list of prospect and customer accounts. We started with a relatively broad focus: marketing products across our portfolio and looking for opportunities to expand within our installed base.
We then added Terminus to our stack. Terminus allows us to quickly spin up a targeted digital ad campaign at any stage of our marketing and sales funnel. We know that it’s reaching the key decision-makers and influencers — regardless of whether we have their contact information — with the right message. We primarily use it as an acceleration tool targeting accounts in various stages of opportunity. It’s very efficient with spend, too. We’re also building Terminus advertising campaigns around events and webinars, both before and after, which has been awesome.
For webinars at PGi, we leverage our own technology, iMeetLive. We have found that attendees to our webinars tend to be further along in their buying cycle, making webinars a great tool to help generate pipeline. With iMeetLive we can gain valuable insights on attendee engagement, save time thanks to its integrations with Eloqua and Salesforce, and easily edit and publish recorded webinars.
The next stage in the maturation of our ABM stack was to targeted in-market accounts for web conferencing and gain deeper insight into the effectiveness of our marketing efforts. We invested in 6Sense for predictive intelligence and Bizible for attribution.
6Sense provides us with predictive intelligence on which companies are actively looking for web conferencing. It scores our entire Salesforce instance. This lets us determine which accounts to focus on, and it provides insight into our customer base. A “hot” account buying stage on an existing customer could raise a red flag that we need to go into retention mode, or it may signal that the account is a candidate for upsell or cross-sell. 6Sense predictive intelligence allows us to prioritize our marketing and sales efforts to the right accounts, saving time and money.
Bizible helps us understand the value and contribution to pipeline that each marketing touchpoint has. It has been helpful with understanding the impact of our ABM efforts and creating a framework for measurement.
We also invested in Influitive about a year ago. Influitive is a great platform that helps us stay connected to our customer base to drive utilization and adoption of our collaboration tools and solutions. We also use it to solicit testimonials and case studies, which help build credibility among prospective customers.
How has your approach to measuring and assessing your marketing efforts changed with ABM?
Coming from traditional inbound and demand waterfall marketing, we used all of those typical KPIs. With ABM, the metrics are totally different. It’s about how much we’re engaging target accounts and influencing pipeline.
Bizible allows us to track influenced pipeline. It can be a hard concept to wrap your head around. Direct attribution on a complex sale is unlikely; it is a culmination of marketing touchpoints among multiple people within a mid-enterprise account that drives engagement and pipeline. Bizible has helped us gain better visibility into the impact of our overall marketing efforts.
With ABM, we focus more on account engagement than ever before. We use the scores from Eloqua, Bizible, and 6Sense to see how engaged accounts are. 6Sense allows us to see “hot” and “warm” accounts, and then we’re able to use a variety of tools to see how engaged the whole account is and drill down to the individual level. This level of insight is great. For example, we can use this data to create a segment to quickly spin up a targeted advertising campaign in Terminus, further driving engagement.
Last year we established a lead development representative (LDR) team that sits between marketing and sales but is managed by marketing. It has greatly improved our ability to follow up in a timely manner on new logo leads. And with all this engagement and predictive insight at their fingertips, our LDR team can most effectively prioritize their outreach and engagement efforts.
What’s next for your account-based marketing strategy and tech stack?
We’ve invested in cleaning up our Salesforce instance. We are using Data.com to update and append firmographic data on accounts, and we are using Synthio to help us update and clean leads and contacts on those accounts.
We are also evaluating tools like LookBookHQ to help with our content needs. I’m particularly excited about LookBookHQ’s platform, which makes our content bingeable if a prospect is heavily in the research stage of the buying cycle. We are looking at the possibility of integrating that platform with our content syndication program.
We’re looking to continue to refine and improve our LDR efforts. We want our LDR team to become best-in-class at utilizing account engagement data to make sure they’re highly effective and laser-focused.
We’re also considering a “wake-the-dead” ABM campaign leveraging Terminus ads to reengage closed-lost accounts. As you may know, according to Corporate Visions, 59% of opportunities go to no decision. At some point, these accounts will need to make a decision, and Terminus is perfect for keeping our brand top-of-mind in the meantime. It’s much more focused and efficient than any other platform out there.
What advice would you give to a B2B marketer who wants to get started with ABM?
Changing the marketing and sales processes at an enterprise company is like trying to steer a cruise ship. You need a plan, patience to see it through, and focus from the whole crew.
First, you need to gain sponsorship and buy-in from leadership. Account-based marketing requires process changes and investment in ABM-specific tools. Having support from leadership and alignment between sales and marketing is critical to the success of any ABM program.
The right technology tools are also critical. As I mentioned, it can be challenging to move to a new marketing strategy — but without the right tools, it’s impossible. Ensuring you have the right tools at the right stage of your ABM maturity is critical. A tool like Terminus is a no-brainer whether you’re just getting started or are more mature in your ABM. Adding Terminus to our stack early was a great benefit.
If I was going to do it over again, I would leverage predictive intelligence earlier to be more focused in our ABM efforts. It takes time to implement, but it keeps your marketing and sales teams from barking up the wrong tree.
Finally, make sure you consider your marketing operation’s needs, such as lead-to-account mapping. It especially helps if you’re doing both inbound marketing and ABM. It allows you to roll all leads and contacts up to the account level and provides clear account ownership so you can get the most out of your CRM.
Grade Your Own Account-Based Marketing Stack
As you can see, Cheryl and her team have had a lot of success selecting account-based marketing technology and scaling their strategy.
How does your martech stack stack up? Use the ABM Stack Grader to visualize your stack, discover any gaps in your technology, and explore different B2B marketing and sales tools. Click the banner below to get started.