This post is based on a #TakeoverTuesday with special host Daniel Rodriguez, who interviewed Lisa Ames. If you’d like to listen to the full episode, you can check it out here and below. Daniel is the Head of Revenue at Alyce, and his guest Lisa is the VP of Marketing at Lucidworks.
“Where do we go from here?!” Maybe you’re still on the starting blocks. Maybe you’ve passed up ABM 101, and you need to level up. (Or maybe you don’t even know where you’re at on the ABM scale?)
No matter where your ABM program is currently, you’ll want to to tune into this episode of the #FlipMyFunnel podcast.
Here’s what we’re unpacking today:
- Lisa’s crawl, walk, run stages of ABM
- The simplest definition of ABM
- Pitfalls ABMers can avoid
- Starting an ABM program on a low or no budget
How does someone know when ABM is the right fit?
Lisa Ames: Any B2B marketer is probably a fit for ABM. Because we all have limited resources, limited budgets. When you’re in a B2B environment, you pretty much know the accounts you need to go after. It’s not like B2C, where you’re going after the whole world and millions and millions of people. You most likely have a pretty well-defined ICP, ideal customer profile. You know there are certain accounts that are more likely to buy from you than others. So why not focus your energy and those limited resources in going after the accounts that are actually going to buy from you?
The simplest definition of ABM is blank?
Lisa Ames: I think it’s really aligning with your sales team and agreeing you’re going to take an account-based approach. Identifying a list of accounts that are most likely to buy from you and then marketing to them and selling to them as a single team. To me that’s account-based marketing.
How do you know you have the right list of target accounts? When is it done, and can it be modified?
Lisa Ames: It’s critical because you have to know who you’re chasing, who you’re going after as a company. But there are various stages, or I should say different points in a maturity model. There’s that sort of crawl, walk, run as it relates to your list. Every company, every B2B sales person under the sun, has a target account list in their head. Whether they have it documented is another story, but they all know who they want to go after. I’ve never met a sales person who doesn’t. So it’s really about, “How do we get our hands on that? How do we document it? How do we operationalize it and start actioning on it?” So at the simplest crawl stage, it’s really just getting that list, getting it to the sales force, marking those accounts.
For example, at my company now, we don’t have an ABM strategy. People are open to it, they think it makes sense, but we don’t have a list. So for me, one of my quick wins at Lucidworks was to say, “OK, since we don’t have the technology to build our list, and we haven’t built the list, why don’t we build a list, and we can start marketing to it through content syndications, for example.” So I just went around to our various sales leaders, and I developed an ICP, which is the critical part of the process. I said, “All right, what kind of accounts are we selling to?” We know they have over 500 million in revenue. Also, we want supermarkets and retailers and any vendor that’s doing eCommerce online. So I ran the list in Discover org, and validated that list and allowed the sales team to pull certain accounts off the list they knew were already engaged. That whole effort took about 2 or 3 hours. I sent that list to a syndication vendor. Now, we have leads coming in that are on that account list. So that was a very unsophisticated, yet powerful way to start marketing to accounts that our sales team cares about.
You left out, deal sizes, complexity of the sale, length of the sales cycle. Was that on purpose?
Lisa Ames: All those things are really important. Those are sort of the baseline metrics that as you embark on an ABM strategy you’re going to want to capture — your ACV, your funnel velocity, your close rates, as well as your conversion rates all the way through the funnel. Because that’s where your starting point is, and then once you start doing ABM, you’re going to want to to measure the impact on those metrics over time. To have all of that takes you to a different level of sophistication. But what I’m encouraging folks to do is understand that they’ll get there. You’ll have a super tight target account list that sales is fully bought in on. You’ll mark those accounts in Salesforce, you’ll operationalize this, and you’ll get all your metrics in place. You’ll even invest in technology to help with some of these processes.
But if all that seems overwhelming — and it does for most companies — there’s a place to start today, right now. You can change your behavior, making adjustments in the way you approach marketing. That alone can have an impact on your business.
So, you’re crawling when you have an agreed upon list. Can you describe what walking is?
Lisa Ames: Walking happens when you have full alignment with the sales team on taking an account-based approach: You have developed a target account list (and again there’s a lot of ways to skin that cat). You can use no technology, a little bit of technology or a lot of technology to do it.
Last question: What pitfalls can marketing leaders avoid in rolling out an ABM strategy?
Lisa Ames: This is going to sound really simplistic, but I stand by it 1,000 percent. You’ve got to have alignment with your sales team. If you think you can go off in a silo or a vacuum as a marketer and execute ABM by yourself without their buy-in, without their support, you’re mistaken. You won’t be successful. So, I always encourage folks if you don’t have that piece, it’s really the cornerstone of a successful ABM strategy. You must go back, get that alignment before you can move forward. I think that’s the biggest thing to avoid is that lack of alignment with the sales team.