It’s never sound scientific or mathematical practice to draw conclusions from a small sample size. However, on the first day of SiriusDecisions Summit 2017 a clear theme presented itself from the very first session: account based marketing (ABM) is here to stay.
At the beginning of the SiriusFoundations session on account based marketing, Matt Senatore from SiriusDecisions took a look around the standing-room only Venetian ballroom and asked with a laugh, “there’s a little interest here around the topic of account based marketing, huh?”
Alissa Groocock from SiriusDecisions then laid out the basics of ABM and made clear that the packed crowd in the room was not an anomaly. “Account based marketing is a major investment for our clients,” she said. And to further drive home the point she displayed a slide that showed a schedule for the Summit that has over 20 sessions about ABM across the three days of the conference.
Throughout the rest of the day numerous sessions provided the opportunity to see firsthand the types of successful account based marketing tactics utilized by organizations. Here are a few takeaways from the first day of SiriusDecisions Summit 2017.
ABM Marketers are CMOs
Nick Panayi, VP, Brand, Demand, and Digital, at DXC was on hand to discuss how his organization uses LinkedIn to drive what he calls “pursuit marketing”. Similar to how account based marketing is often compared to spear fishing, pursuit marketing leverages the idea of hunting for the accounts you want to win rather than sitting back and hoping they find their way to you.
One point he made stuck out. As he was explaining how DXC structures their efforts he said, “ABM marketers are the cream of the crop; they are the best marketers we have.” He went even further, calling ABM marketers “mini CMOs.” This distinction provides a few advantages that not only improve the chances of account based marketing success but also provide an opportunity to incubate talent within your organization.
Appointing a person the CMO of a target account allows them to focus and hone their account based marketing tactics on that opportunity. Each campaign will receive the attention and care needed to succeed. Account based marketing is about personalization, make one of your marketers a personalized CMO.
In addition, entrusting an ABM marketer with the responsibilities of a CMO signals that you trust their judgement and decision-making abilities. This is a great way to nurture the growth of rising stars within the marketing department while also receiving helpful feedback on the way they perform with more responsibilities.
Constantly Monitor and Evolve Your Target List
One of the most important aspects of account based marketing is selecting your list of target accounts. Selecting the right targets is crucial for ensuring success with your ABM efforts. The initial list, however, should not remain static. It is important for your target list to evolve alongside of your account based marketing program.
Chris Bondhus, Sr. Director, Demand Generation at Brightcove heralded the importance of iterating your account list during a session that detailed his organization’s ABM efforts. In the year and a half that his team has been employing account based marketing tactics they have gone through four account lists.
As his team has gone through this process he has developed a set of guidelines for maintaining and evolving an account list. Some of his suggestions included: supplementing account data with firmographic data from a MAP, applying behavioral data to your decision making, collaborating closely with Sales, and iterating on a quarterly basis.
On the flip side, he also provided some practices to avoid when managing your list. For example: don’t focus solely on large organizations regardless of fit with your solutions, don’t overcomplicate the process & trust your team to know their audience, and don’t languish on one account that’s a sunk cost.
Constantly monitoring and maintaining your account list is crucial for success with account based marketing. Use the analytics you’ve gathered from your efforts to evolve your list and ensure you are always targeting the right accounts.
“Account Based Metrics are Different”
That quote comes from Jon Miller, CEO and Cofounder of Engagio, during his session alongside Maria Pergolino, VP Marketing and Sales Development at Apptus. Miller has led the charge of the benefits of account based marketing and is a clear thought leader in the industry. The big takeaway from this session: measuring account based marketing success is different than other traditional sales and marketing activities.
Because ABM is about targeting select accounts and individuals the metrics become more granular. Individual engagements become more important because the effort undertaken to engage is much greater. Account based marketing is more likely to target high-level decision makers who respond better to personalized outreaches that speak directly to their needs. That requires a level of work that needs to be constantly measured and analyzed. The types of metrics then shift from broad metrics like open rates and move towards focused data like content engagement.
Miller provided 5 different areas that he likes to group metrics into: Coverage, Awareness, Engagement, Reach, and Impact. Those areas cover all of the analytics that can determine the health of an account based marketing strategy. Every organization will have a unique blend of ABM metrics that are important to them, but it’s important to measure your account based marketing tactics differently than you measure traditional sales and marketing activities.
During the session and inadvertently summing up the overarching theme of the day, Miller glanced at the crowd in yet another packed room and said, “Apparently we’ve underestimated the popularity of account based marketing.”