Humanizing ABM: The Lifeboat for the Perfect Storm

This post is based on a podcast with Daniel Gaugler. If you’d like to listen to the full episode, you can check it out here and below!

In a world where Netflix and Pandora have set the precedent for ultra personalized content, the job of salesperson and marketer has become harder than ever.

The modern B2B buyer abides in what Daniel Gaugler, CMO at PFL, would describe as the “perfect storm”.

Unfortunately, the term “perfect storm” is not a positive phrase in this situation.


Consumers are done with irrelevant and non-personalized communication. It’s not worth their time. Due to this intolerance, there has been a drastic decline in response rates, no matter the type of channel.

Marketers have responded to this storm by upping the volume. More emails, more calls, more futile tweets. This only makes their jobs harder, and sadly, it doesn’t fix the problem.

Does this sound familiar? Once one is caught in this perfect storm, how does one find their way out?

The answer sounds simple enough: humanize ABM.

Humanizing ABM

Humanizing ABM is the way one needs to respond to the perfect storm.

It sounds obvious – people like things personalized. Sounds simple enough. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. It takes forethought and planning.

Salespeople and marketers always need to think about and work toward creating meaningful and intimate connections with their future and current customers. 

But how?

Daniel shares that the way PFL approaches this issue is by using the data they gather on their current and future customers in order to refine the message and make it personalized to them.

It all comes down to recommending the right product, or message, as well as discovering the right channel with which to engage one’s audience. 

“The companies that adapt the fastest and learn from their programs are the ones that are ultimately going to win.” – Daniel Gaugler

Which Channel Is the Best Channel?

But how do you know which channel to choose?

This channel varies depending on the customer. Some may be best touched by email. Others by a phone call. Look at who you’ve reached out to successfully before, and create personas based on those accounts. Once you’ve created those personas, test test test. Try a new campaign, targeted advertising, direct mail, etc. 

Daniel is passionate about direct mail and the impact it can have. It’s tangible and can easily be made personal.

It doesn’t matter what channel you choose, as long as you integrate human touches. And, it should all be centered around the customer’s needs and what they care about.

Don’t think of this as a mission to serve yourself. 

Integrating Sales and Marketing Approach

This is all about reducing luck in your strategies. For your customers, and for yourselves.

If you look to require better customers for your business, you can be at the mercy– or the luck– that the right person searches for the phrase that you are optimizing for and that they become the lead.

Or that the right person comes by your tradeshow booth and becomes a lead.

With ABM, you get to choose.

Through ABM, you can know what a good customer looks like, from their marketing and sophistication, to their company size and to some of the intent data on them.

Going after those target accounts with your marketing and sales resources reduces luck.

Scaling Personalization

Scaling personalization is one of the biggest challenges you hear about in organizations, especially in fast growth organizations.

In fact, a common excuse to avoid personalization is that it’ll never scale; you’ll never figure it out.

But that’s not true. It takes time and a lot of trial runs, but it’s possible.

A takeaway tip is to over communicate and have lots of standup meetings. You need to be working with your sales team. A practical way to do this is to have 15-minute daily stand-ups with your team.

During these short meetings, discuss what’s working, and what’s not so you can iterate the process no matter what programs are running.