March 24, 2017

Kristina McMillan: Account-Based Marketing for Any Size Company

In this special Revenue Summit edition of B2BNation, we spoke with Kristina McMillan, Director of Research at TOPO.

We discussed how to know if your company is a good fit for account-based marketing (ABM) and the best ways to use ABM practices in any sales and marketing organization.

This episode covers:

  • How you know ABM might not work for your company
  • Common mistakes and best practices for implementing ABM strategies
  • The challenge of scaling well-aligned ABM strategies as you grow

Below are a few highlights from our conversation: 

ABM Might Not Fit Every Organization

“You need to look at volume and velocity. If you don’t have these things and you can’t scale, you’re probably not going to be a good fit for ABM. There are still things you can learn from it — like account hygiene, for instance. 

‘We focus on finding the right accounts, learning to say no when those accounts don’t fit our optimum account profile, and then learning strategies to connect with the accounts that do match.”

Common Mistakes and Best Practices

  • Identify the best customers based on highest value. If you think you can sell to anyone, you should probably narrow down your focus and look at the optimal accounts.
  • Once you identify that set, understand the capacity of your team and how you might start tackling your list. Maybe think about working in rotations instead of just sending out the account list in bulk. Pilot your accounts
  • Orchestrate your teams out of their silos. Meetings and hand-off calls are not orchestration. Start to document plans. Maybe make a table that documents what happens to each account and who is responsible. Lay out the game plan, and then everyone will execute on their piece of the plan.
  • Think about that level of granularity with high value in mind as you make the plans, and then communicate throughout the orchestration process. Come back and measure your efforts.

‘While everyone will still have their individual roles, you’re working together to ensure the outcome is the same. That means you work together on messaging and understanding where your customer should end up.”

The Challenge of Scale

“The challenge of a five-person sales team may be unique in their overall strategy, but there are some pillars of sales that are the same for that [small team] and an enterprise. Maybe your sales messaging needs to be more aligned — strategically, are we aligned at the outcome level?

“As you scale, you still have to understand some of that small-team mindset. You need to go back to your messaging often and continue to iterate. Your alignment needs to follow you through the scaling process as well. In a small team, you may sit next to someone from another team and talk to them all day, but as you scale you may only talk to them once a week. You talk about tactics, but you need to ensure that you’re aligning around the same strategies.”

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Stay tuned for more episodes from our trip to Revenue Summit 2017, featuring the likes of Bastian Janmaat, Rob Jepsen, Lincoln Murphy, and Kristen Wendel. 

B2B Nation is a podcast for B2B sales and marketing professionals, featuring expert opinions and advice on the most important topics in the industry. Check out our other episodes on SoundCloud, or follow us on Twitter: @Technology_Adv.

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