By Brandon Redlinger
Data is at the foundation of any system, and this couldn’t be more true for ABM. Without this foundation, leads get routed to the wrong owners, they don’t get scored properly, activity can’t be measured, and ultimately, it’s a bad experience for the customer. When the core data and operations elements are in place, Account Based Marketing (ABM) runs like a well-oiled machine and time is spent focused on the more important aspects of driving engagement.
But what are the essential elements of an account foundation?
Lead-to-account matching makes sure no one slips through the cracks, everyone gets routed to the right owner, program ROI is measured accurately, and all accounts get scored properly.
Synchronized and integrated systems help teams stay efficient and effective. Reps need to be working off of the latest information and not worrying about having to use disparate systems. Information from corporate email, calendar, and web engagement is aggregated and presented wherever it is needed.
Account scoring and rules to select the right accounts and prioritize follow-up activity once an account has reached the threshold to become a marketing qualified account (MQA).
Marketing Orchestration supports Marketing Operations by providing our team with a comprehensive view of the data. It allows them to prioritize the best accounts and measure the impact of programs on the accounts that matter.
Using data and metrics at the account level to get visibility and start to understand what’s happening at your target accounts.
In ABM, it’s important to not only create engagement but also to measure it. Otherwise, how do you know if you’re having an impact or wasting time and money? Marketing Orchestration helps us ensure we’re focusing in the right way at every stage of the customer journey.
But tying ABM efforts to business objectives is no easy task. ABM metrics are different than traditional demand gen metrics – quality matters more than quantity. Our reports roll up to the account level and report on important buying indicators, and how our marketing programs have affected down-funnel metrics.
The new metrics that matter most in ABM are::
Coverage – Do you have sufficient data, contacts and account plans for your target accounts?
Awareness – Are your target accounts aware of your companies and products/services?
Engagement – Are the right people at the account spending time with your company, and is engagement going up over time?
Reach – Are your marketing programs reaching your target accounts?
Impact – How are your ABM activities improving sales outcomes, such as deal velocity, win rates, contract values, retention, net promoter score, etc?
Besides our core ABM team, our Marketing Executives demand account insights to prove the ROI of our ABM efforts. Account insights are table stakes if to get CXOs on board. We have a comprehensive view of the accounts that both Marketing and Sales agree on, and our technology complements the rest of our technology stack.
Account-based efforts that are orchestrated across Marketing and Sales to drive new business and penetrate accounts.
Executing cross-departmental plays is easy in theory, but hard in practice. When running an integrated program or event to get a meeting, for example, coordination with other key players like Sales is crucial. However, it doesn’t always happen as smoothly as seamlessly as we’d like. That’s where having orchestration in place makes working together a major factor in our success.
What does Sales/Marketing alignment actually look like when executing ABM? Here are the key things that our sales and marketing teams work together on before each goes to execute their parts individually:
Agree on the list (who are we targeting)
Detailed definitions of who is going to do what, and when
Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for those actions
A method to report on key activities and a central place for everyone to access information
A shared definition of what success looks like
Integrated ABM has been a cornerstone of our field marketing and demand gen efforts. We don’t have to check in with Sales to see if they have approved the lists, reached out with the right messaging, or followed up with non-responders. With Marketing Orchestration, we can ensure efforts are coordinated, results are tracked, and everyone is working on the right activities to drive engagement at the accounts we care about most.
Cultivating and growing relationships with orchestrated human interaction in existing opportunities at high-value accounts (especially early stage or stalled opportunities).
Marketing teams work hard to create an opportunity to pass along to Sales, but many things can get in the way of the deal closing:
It’s the end of the quarter and the sales team is fully occupied working deals that are closing now.
Marketing books a meeting but they don’t show.
An opportunity goes dark in the middle of an active cycle
In all these cases, Sales doesn’t have the time to follow-up with every stalled opportunity, but at the same time, it’s standard to stop nurturing accounts when they become opps. The result: deals that fall through the cracks. Marketing automation doesn’t do the trick because it is impersonal and ineffective, and sales needs to maintain control over the account and the message. Marketing Orchestration delivers the scale and automation of lead nurturing, but lets Sales review and approve every message before is goes out — from them. We have visibility into what’s happening at the accounts, from early to late stage. We have a way to keep the lines of communication open and the relationship strong.
The field marketers and demand generation managers of our ABM team are responsible for building the deal nurture play in our ABM Playbook. Marketing defines the steps and builds the content, then Sales will review and approve the play. We run deal nurture plays after an opportunity has been created, a meeting no-shows, or a deal goes dark.
Growing your customer base through upsell and cross-sell opportunities at existing accounts.
In SaaS businesses and enterprise deals, maintaining a good relationship with customers is an essential to success. Keeping a current customer happy and taking advantage of upsell and cross-sell opportunities greatly impacts the bottom line. However, most companies are using automation tools to keep the conversation going. Therein lies the problem – automation, by definition, is not a human conversation, and therefore not an effective way to maintain relationships with important customers.
Delivering timely, relevant and personalized touches to expand revenue within existing accounts, and do it in coordination with Sales and Customer Success, is key in a land-and-expand strategy.
The second piece of the account expansion puzzle is getting insights at current customer accounts. Which customers are a good fit for other product lines or service offerings? How do we identify activity in other opportunities at a customer account? Do we get a clear understanding of what marketing activities and outreach are effective for expanding into target account?
Our demand gen and ABM marketing teams play a crucial role in not only landing but also expanding our high-value accounts – not just our account manager or sales rep. How do we do that? By increasing visibility and running plays. Are you beginning to see a pattern? No matter the role or job at hand, everyone on our ABM team has visibility into account activity to draw insights and the ability to run orchestrated plays.
As you can see, Marketing Orchestration is a powerful way to drive ABM success at every stage of the customer journey. Marketing has always been the steward of the customer journey. But now, it’s more important than ever to work with every customer-facing team to ensure the company acts in a coordinated way to drive results. At the end of the day, it’s all about supporting Sales, thereby supporting your business.