Craig Rosenberg, Chief Analyst at TOPO, was a recent guest on our podcast, B2B Nation: Smarketing Edition.
In the episode, we discussed:
- The importance of account-based marketing (ABM) research
- How the structure of marketing KPIs impacts ABM adoption
- Some of the biggest mistakes companies make with ABM
- What “account-based everything” means
Below are some of the highlights from our conversation.*
Marketing automation is the “digital demand generation revolution.”
“Marketing automation is one of the reasons we are here today. When we bought marketing automation, we did inbound marketing, we rolled out content, we did lead nurturing and all this stuff . . . and we’re seeing fabulous improvements in how marketing provides value to an organization. What demand gen lacked was the fact that sales was actually targeting a very specific set of accounts. With horizontal marketing, you’re really just hoping the leads and the interest level hits that target account base.”
Only 15 percent hit their target account list.
“That’s the problem we’re here to solve today. ‘Account-based’ is a movement that’s happening for all the right reasons. Companies are realizing there’s a specific set of accounts that are the most valuable to them from an LTV economics perspective. Many people think about ABM as a way to get into the enterprise or specific verticals, and that’s the right thing to think about. To do that, you can’t just create content and put it out there and hope people come to it; you need to have a strategy reaches those accounts, drives interest, and ultimately opportunities.”
Horizontal marketing and ABM can/will coexist.
“We’re still going to have large, horizontal marketing efforts. Those efforts today typically feed mid-market inside sales teams where you have a large target market. When we’re trying to focus on the accounts that we want and need, that’s going to require ABM, which is essentially a different function in the marketing organization. It’s happening fast. We’re already seeing great results for companies doing it.”
Marketing KPIs are very MQL-centric.
“That’s a by-product of all of the influence of the digital demand generation and marketing automation era. The focus is on big numbers, lots of downloads, 1,000 people-to-a-webinar metrics. Those are great when they feed a very particular part of the organization, but they don’t always allow us to track and manage marketing outcomes against investments.”
Marketers got addicted to big numbers.
“They wanted to see big scoreboard-type numbers. Analytics are one of the best things that happened to marketing, but now can we apply what we’ve learned over the past 10 years to a specific set of accounts, as opposed to the whole world consuming your content. What can we do from an account-perspective? That was the big miss. I don’t think marketing was completely doing the wrong thing, because they were putting up big numbers, and we’ve seen some big companies built around feeding inside-sales teams in a scalable way. But if your business says you need to sell to specific accounts, it’s time to shift strategies.
“If you’re getting 20,000 leads, many of those leads don’t matter; we can look at a smaller subset of those and make sure we’re getting a higher-quality opportunities. This point-of-view requires buy-in from executives, and step number one is that you have to agree on the target list. It sounds so simple, but boy is it a big deal.”
You’re about to make a big bet.
“Can we look at these accounts and figure out which are most likely to buy in the fastest time possible? You have to look at internal/external data and a lot of different things when you’re making that decision. Everyone has to agree on that. If you’re going to be successful at account-based everything, you have to burn the boats. You can’t change your mind a month later.”
ABM can’t be effective in isolation.
“If sales development gets appointed to certain accounts and doesn’t coordinate with marketing, they can’t be an effective. Sales has to change the way they sell. If you have 20,000 leads, you can figure out which ones to work on, but if you have 100 accounts, you have to sell at any stage in the buying cycle and provide value to those people early on.”
Account-based everything is resonating.
“ABM, on its own, wasn’t really moving the needle; you can’t impact results unless the behavioral change applies to the entire organization.
“We present ‘account-based everything’ to CEOs and VPs of sales, and they love it. The way we define it is a coordination of personalized marketing, sales development, sales, and customer success efforts to drive engagement and conversion among a targeted set of accounts. We believe account-based everything has five attributes:
- A targeted, set of high-value accounts
- Intelligence-driven campaigns.
- Campaign orchestration across marketing, sales, and sales development
- Personalized buying experiences
- Coordinated, high-effort, high-frequency outreach
“What I’m really looking forward to at the FlipMyFunnel Festival is being able to engage with people who are working in all stages of account-based. I like talking to people who are thinking about it, and I want to know why they haven’t started already. I want to meet people who have tried and failed, as well as people who are successful and figure out why.”
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B2B Nation: Smarketing is a podcast for B2B sales and marketers, featuring expert opinions and advice on the most important topics in the industry. Check out our other episodes on iTunes, or follow on Twitter: @B2BNation_Smar.