How to Scale ABM Programs: Your Questions, Answered

According to Gartner, 75% of B2B technology service providers with more than $10 million dollars in revenue will be adopting account-based marketing as their primary market model in 2019—a 50% increase from 2017. 

To help account-based marketers implement cross-channel solutions that tie ABM efforts to pipeline revenue, last week we hosted a webinar with practitioners from LogMeIn, Nintex, and MediaCom titled, “From Programmatic to Pipeline: Maximizing ROI from ABM Programs.”

After the webinar, we released our new eBook, "The Enterprise Playbook to Account-Based Demand Generation.” Download it here

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During the webinar, Leah, Elise and Kate (on behalf of Natalia) provided valuable advice for account-based marketers eager to maximize ROI on their ABM investments. Here are some of the highlights. 

How did you get started with ABM? What were the tactics that you tried first? What were some of the challenges that you faced?

Leah: I started by simply running some lead generation programs to the accounts that we cared about. We identified an account list, and we really went with this one-to-many approach. We wanted to make sure that we're filling our funnel and our customer database with the right contacts. We hadn't developed any personalized content or nurtures or anything along those lines, yet. We started to see the right titles. If we dig into Salesforce, multiple leads on an account are engaged with our marketing efforts. From there, we know that we're on the right path.

The next thing we tested was an outbound campaign. We really just armed them with some email templates and content contacts of the new names we were bringing in. We hit a point where we didn't get very far. We saw some pretty low response rates, and we worked to segment out the list of the accounts that we cared about, driving that new pipeline in into three different buckets so that we could personalize the message a little bit more with our BDRs. From there, we saw triple the meeting set with our VR teams. This is the point that we know we're on to something. It's the tipping point into building out that rich, new strategy around ABM for our solutions.

What are the metrics that you, your teams within your broader organization are being looked at to determine success?

Elise:  The ultimate goal is pipeline and opportunities. But, of course, we all know that can take time. We'll look at the accounts we're going after, how many of those are engaging, and how many people are taking the action we want them to take in that group of accounts. Then, eventually, we get down to pipeline and opportunities and even looking at deal sizes. 

Kate: They [MediaCom] do something called "ABM 360 Program.” They receive reporting based on the impressions that are delivered and the engagements that have resulted per account, but also on a per title/per account basis. Then, they take that information and relay the high engagement to their client. They share their list, essentially what they call "the surging accounts," with the client to activate further. Depending on the program, it may or may not also generate sales-ready leads.

What technology are you using to implement and execute a successful ABM strategy?

Elise: Marketo, Salesforce, and Engagio. Outside of that, we use Outerach, so that we're tracking and able to templatize the stuff that our reps are doing. We use Integrate for our content syndication programs and for display, as well. We also leverage LinkedIn. It's a good tool to try to find the right people and get the right content in front of them to get them into your programs. From the reporting side, we're just using something simple. A data warehouse with a BR reporting tool.

What's the best way to pilot an ABM program before investing in a broader ABM platform?

Elise:  Any pilot we've run, we've come up with a theory, and a hypothesis. We've tested it and we've set up the goals that we think we can achieve, and then [measure] how we do against those goals. I think it's important to be specific about what your goals are, but make sure that they're relevant to the kind of activities that you're doing.

Leah: You can work with third party vendors even if you're doing thought leadership webinars with a third party, they'll usually let you give an account-based marketing list, or even run a webinar yourself to a targeted list of accounts; and just test out your messaging and test out with your BDR team what that process looks like and how you can personalize it. 

What is the right time frame to execute a pilot? How long do you need to have something in market to have results that are quantifiable?

Elise: It really depends on what does your sales cycle looks like, and what you look at as early success metrics in any campaign—and how long you typically wait to see opportunity come up. From there, you can base your pilot on that time frame or a similar time frame.

What's the best way to prioritize accounts for an ABM strategy?

Leah: We just went through this exercise looking at some of our top closed deals from 2018. We plan to translate those themes into our ABM campaigns. You need to look internally to your organization and say, "Where are we winning?" Also, "What have we seen work," and "How can we replicate that and scale that a little bit?" 

Does ABM only work if you have a small target account list of about 200 accounts? How big do you think an account list can go? 

Leah: The longer the sales cycle, the more personalized and targeted you want your ABM programs to be. I probably fall a little bit in the middle where I'm running one program that I'm targeting at over 1500 accounts, and my smallest program would be at 400. The answer to the question is, obviously, it depends. But from at least my experience, ABM can scale and still show results.

What are the ABM campaign metrics that you present to the c-suite? 

Elise: Opportunities opened, pipeline created, deals won.

Leah: Ultimately, I would report on the business impact. With our ABM programs, if we're able to show that increase in overall pipeline, what percent of ABM pipeline is making up the broader pipe creation for our solutions?

We hope this wrap-up gave you additional insights into the process of implementing strategic ABM practices to advance pipeline revenue generation. And if you missed the webinar, you can view it on-demand here.

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