2016 will be the year of account-based marketing (ABM).
2015 was a great year for Terminus. We launched our account-based marketing (ABM) platform in March and ended the year with $1 million in annual recurring revenue.
Now that 2016 has arrived, we have set our sights on bigger goals — ones that could only be accomplished with a full-fledged commitment to executing ABM within our organization.
A big part of that commitment is transparency. Granted we are still in the early stages of ABM internally; across the industry, we all still have a lot to learn. You can look forward to these posts from us monthly where we will share what we are working on and any applicable results.
If we have an exciting win with a campaign, we will be sure to share it with you. Alternatively, if we don’t quite experience the results we are expecting, we will share what we learned.
I bet you are asking why we are doing this. And that’s a great question! Simply put, we want to help B2B marketers win at ABM and we are willing to battle test our own theories to ensure that we do just that.
Before I dive into where we are going, I’d like to share some of the ways we laid the groundwork for what’s to come in 2016.
1. We created a “Smarketing” culture. This involved a recurring meeting every week that brought all team members from our sales and marketing departments together. This helped us ensure that our teams were aligned and moving along the same wavelength.
But we didn’t stop there. As Terminus’ Marketing Manager, I set up a recurring one-on-one meeting weekly with Tonni Bennett, our Director of Sales, to ensure that we were aligned as leaders of our departments. We also hired a new Director of Business Development who is a key leader on our “Smarketing” team.
2. We used ABM for events. Events were a core part of our marketing strategy in 2015 and we to see how we could use ABM to impact the outcome of the events. This initiative was launched for the Boston and Chicago #FlipMyFunnel Roadshows.
For Boston, we assigned two sales development reps (SDRs) a list of 133 accounts. For Chicago, we assigned one SDR a slightly smaller list of 98 accounts. Shout out to Social123 here for providing us with the data we needed and to SalesLoft for helping us execute the SDR cadence through their platform.
These SDRs ran a cadence of phone calls, emails, and social touches to book demos and invite prospects to the event. It also involved us using our own platform to run account-based advertising campaigns targeting marketing and sales leaders within these accounts. The result across both cities was 19 opportunities created before the roadshow kicked even kicked off.
From an attendance perspective, we were able to get attendees from 11 of the accounts we targeted. This is an example of identifying where we can improve and we are actively looking at ways to do that for our next roadshow in San Francisco.
3. We built the brand. Sangram Vajre, our CMO, did a Google Hangout with Kevin Bobowski, VP of Demand Generation at Act-On and formerly VP at ExactTarget. My key takeaway from this interview was Kevin’s statement about how “brand drives demand.”
Before we launched the platform in March, the only association most people had with the Terminus brand was from the Walking Dead. We set out to change that in a number of ways. We made sure to have a brand presence at SiriusDecisons Summit, Dreamforce, and every #FlipMyFunnel event, especially the first one in our hometown of Atlanta.
We also launched the first ever #ABMChat Twitter Chat under the Terminus Brand. In just one hour, we had nearly 500 tweets reaching over 100,000. That was branding at its finest. We also published the first-ever account-based marketing framework going beyond the typical B2B buyer’s journey to a comprehensive customer journey.
While we are excited by these early successes, we know there is a lot more ground for us to cover and that’s where we are headed in 2016.
So what’s up next for January?
For our first set of campaigns for the year, we wanted to test the effectiveness of the #FlipMyFunnel Model and our newly minted ABM framework. We used both to plan out our first two campaigns of the year and have to say it was definitely helpful in guiding us through all the things we needed to think about.
The first thing we did was identify our Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). The past year has brought a lot of clarity in which customers are best fits for us which helped us to narrow down our ICP and target accounts for this campaign (we’ll share that in a later post once the campaign is complete).
The next thing we did was identify which personas we should target with our messaging and outreach. Because we are a MarTech company, our key decision-makers are most likely to hold the title of CMO, VP of Marketing, Director of Marketing, and even includes roles within the finance department when it comes down to signing the contract.
After figuring out our target accounts and key decision-makers, we had to decide how we should engage them. We used the ABM framework here and planned out the first three stages which comprise the Buyer’s Journey. Those are Prospect, Opportunity, and Customer. As we move farther along on our ABM journey, we plan to explore how we can implement the other stages and turn our customers into advocates.
Here is what we have planned for the three stages:
I. Prospect Stage
Goal: Move named (or targeted) accounts from qualified accounts
Strategy and Content:
– Terminus Air Cover Ads
– Outbound SDR Cadence
– Blog Posts
– Direct Mail
One important item to note here is we’re planning to tailor all of this content and advertising creative to the particular industries we are targeting.
Stakeholders: Our “Smarketing” team including our CMO, Storyteller, Marketing Manager, Director of Business Development, and Director of Sales
– Percentage of accounts that turn into qualified accounts
– Percentage of decision-makers engaged
II. Opportunity Stage
Goal: Develop qualified accounts into sales opportunities
Strategy and Content:
– Case Study
– Sales one-page product summary sheet
– Special slide in demo deck
Stakeholders: Our “Smarketing” team including our CMO, Storyteller, Marketing Manager, Director of Business Development, Director of Sales and our Customer Success team (as we’ll need their assistance in producing customer-centric content)
– Percentage of qualified accounts that enter the evaluation stage of the sales process
III. Customer Stage
Goal: Turn sales opportunities into new customers
Strategy and Content:
– Video customer testimonials
– Competitive analysis
Stakeholders: Marketing Manager, Customer Success Manager, and CMO. I’m also adding our Director of Sales here because with ABM sales must have a stake in customer adoption and retention.
– Percentage of evaluation stage accounts that turn into closed/won opportunities
If there’s one key takeaway here, it should be that getting started with ABM should not be a difficult and complex process. There’s a saying that says the best way to eat an elephant is to take one bite at a time and that’s how we are approaching the start of this journey. Our belief is through these campaigns we’ll learn what we are doing well and what we should adjust to optimize our efforts in the future.
We invite you to share your stories with us as well as we want to learn from you too! Here’s to the year of account-based marketing! Download our Beginner’s Blueprint to Account-Based Marketing to get started now.