FlipMyFunnel Post, Other

What You Need to Know to Operationalize Your ABM Program

ABM takes both a strategic approach and an operational approach to be successful. 

But a lot of companies run into roadblocks at some point along the way. And the limitations their programs encounter are not strategic — they’re operational. 

So, how can you tighten up the operations behind your ABM program to make it run more successfully? Leah Allen, Vice President of Marketing at Model N, came on the latest episode of the #FlipMyFunnel podcast to give us some pointers on the matter. 

Here’s what we’re unpacking today:

  • Revisiting ABM basics — building your target list
  • Tactics that work when you need to go deeper with one account
  • How to think about metrics when it comes to ABM

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

Back to the basics — building a great target list:

Leah: First and foremost is building your target account list. So, figure out which accounts who are going to be your next best customers, then get the right people doing contact acquisition at those companies. 

In an ideal ABM world, your database should be filled with your A accounts and your B accounts, plus all of the important people you need to either directly engage with or influence. 

And remember that ABM requires a combination of strategy and operations. The strategy comes in when you decide which accounts you’re going to target. And then that defines everything you do — the events that you go to, the tactics that you use, who you’re going after. 

Tactics for building a deeper connection:

Leah: If you’re looking to go deeper with one particular account, there’s a series of steps that I would take. 

Trade shows: Let’s talk about trade shows first. We define our participation in trade shows based on our target account list. So, we get whatever we can from the company putting on the trade show — who are the companies, who attended before, is there a pre-reg list that we can look at? Then we map that with our target account list. If a lot of our accounts will be there, it’s a good investment.

We just did this earlier today to assess one of the events that we were looking at. Only six of our target accounts were going to be there so we decided that it wasn’t worth it for us to invest in that particular show. So, from an event perspective, we make sure we’re only going to the places where our target accounts are going to be.

Hosting events: As far as events that we put on — we are looking at some programs where we will choose a city to visit. Ideally that city will be where several of our target accounts are located so that we can do a really focused effort on those accounts. While we’re there we will try to set up as many meetings as we can. And we’re still forming exactly what that looks like — it might be drinks or maybe a lunch. But our goal is to go where there’s a high concentration of our target accounts. 

Direct mail: The other area that I think is really good once you’re starting to get engagement is to do direct mail. You’ve probably heard it before but that can be a really impactful area. 

How to know if your program is working:

Leah: We use the same metrics that anyone doing B2B marketing is using. We just look at them through the lens of our target accounts. 

For example, we look at how much traffic is coming to our website, how much engagement we’re getting on the site, and how many conversions we’re getting. And those are the web metrics that you would look at in any situation. But, instead of just considering all of the general traffic, we’re analyzing how much traffic we’re getting from our target accounts. How are they engaging? How are they converting? Just looking at the metrics with that lens can give a very different perspective.

I had an experience at a previous company where we saw a significant drop in the traffic on the website. In a B2C organization, where you’re not doing ABM, that would be really concerning. But when we looked at the target accounts, their engagement had actually doubled. And that’s what we cared about. We were focusing on trying to bring our target accounts to the website, but we weren’t worried about anyone else visiting.

You can get real insights if you just put that ABM lens on top of the metrics you’re already looking at.

So, hopefully these tips will have your ABM program running more efficiently and successfully.