ABM Success Hinges on Sales and Marketing Alignment

Posted on by Beth Negus Viveiros

ABMAccount based marketing can significantly help B2B marketers improve the bottom line, if they have their sales teams on board for the ride.

A key part of Zerto’s ABM strategy is working to better coordinate marketing activities with sales goals, says Fara Hain, vice president, corporate marketing for the disaster data recovery software provider. “For example, if we know sales has an account with a cloud migration project underway and they are concerned about data loss, we can align to that.”

“When we do quarterly planning, I don’t plan campaigns independent of-other teams—we incorporate ABM into overall marketing process,” says Simone Van Cleve, senior demand gen manager at Puppet. “We want to make sure we’re aligned and delivering the same message.”

The decision makers Zerto needs to reach typically fall into two categories, says Hain. There are the vice president or IT director types, who are concerned with the overall viability of the organization, and then there are the storage or back-up administrators, who are “in the weeds,” making sure data is secure.

In conjunction with the sales team, Zerto started an ABM pilot program in June 2017. It began by getting account development reps (ADRs) assigned to the project, and then working with nine sales reps (eight in the US and one in the UK). Each provided five accounts, and the ADRs worked to map those accounts and uncover their customer interests. Marketing campaigns were built out of that information.

Starting with a pilot program is an excellent way to introduce ABM into your organization, adds Marc Stewart, B2B supervisor at digital marketing agency PMG. “If you want to execute an ABM strategy, start with a small budget or list. Crawl to walk is a better approach [than rushing].”


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Today, all reps at Zerto in the US and the UK have 25 targeted accounts, for a total of 1,800. In 2019, the company plans to kick off ABM in other regions.

“Our goal is to get into big accounts with smaller purchases,” says Hain, who spoke at LeadsCon’s Connect to Convert. “Typically, people try to protect critical applications first and then expand. We want to try and do that at scale, to increase sale sizes.”

The results so far are promising: ABM isn’t yet attributed directly to a big number of closed sales, but there are good signals. At least one meeting has been booked in 30 percent of all targeted accounts.

Driving Success with ABM

Seventy-seven percent of B2B marketers believe ABM has driven greater success for their target accounts, according to a new benchmark report from ITSMA and Demandbase. Respondents reported that their ABM programs now account for 28 percent of their overall marketing budget. Forty-five percent of respondents with less than three years of ABM experience in their organizations are seeing at least double the ROI from ABM, as compared to other tactics. Those with three or more years of ABM under their belts report ABM’s performance is 80 percent higher.

Challenges to getting started in ABM included getting the data and reports needed to track results (35 percent), tailoring content for key contacts in accounts (34 percent), developing assets that can be customized at scale (30 percent), budget (30 percent), and educating sales on the value and process of ABM (26 percent).

Design software automation tool provider Puppet’s target audience is similar to Zerto’s, in that they market to both IT decision makers like CIOs, CTOs and IT directors, as well as end users on dev teams who are directly responsible for maintaining infrastructure, notes Simone Van Cleve, senior demand gen manager at Puppet.

Working with PMG, the company launched its ABM program about 2 years ago. The company wanted to work with sales to deliver more leads and adapt to changing B2B buying patterns to increase account penetration.

So far, Puppet has seen a 20 percent increase in leads from target accounts, with an 11 percent increase in average deal size across the board. This can be attributed to ABM because the targeted accounts represent larger opportunities, and the strategy is leading to more efficiency in the sales pipeline.

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