Alfresco, an enterprise content management and business process management software provider, started as an open-source platform but the business wasn’t growing fast enough. For the last 12 months, the San Mateo, CA-based company has been moving towards an account based marketing (ABM) strategy. At the BMA Masters of B2B Marketing Conference in Chicago this week, Alfresco’s CMO Sydney Sloan shared five lessons learned on getting ABM up and running.
1. Be prepared to sell your idea. At first, many folks on the sales side weren’t ready to embrace account based marketing and choose target accounts to focus on. As the program got underway, Sloan noted that those who put in the time and did the work saw the results, versus those who didn’t.
2. Prioritize your top targets. Sloan’s team worked with reps to help them target the best accounts, and focus on different segments accordingly. Predictive analytics were used to see which companies were most likely to do business with Alfresco based on past history. Reps were ultimately allowed to choose which accounts to prioritize, and at the end of the year results will be reviewed to see how those accounts performed.
Globally, 20 accounts were chosen for ABM targeting. Another 4,000 were targeted in a smaller scale, while 55,000 were marketed to with inbound tactics.
3. Plan and determine the program mix. Multiple tactics are needed to connect with customers at different points in their buyer’s journey. “It takes effort to educate a valuable customer,” she said, noting that programs were customized for each of the top 20 accounts in the initial ABM phase for Alfresco.
These tactics include a wide range of activities, from executive breakfasts and to CEO roundtables to account specific online experiences and “door openers” like three-dimensional mailers. “Everything old is new again, she said.
The European team did a “time for tea” mailing, sending prospects teacups and tea, asking if they had time for a cup and to chat. If they didn’t respond, a few extra satchels of tea were sent as a follow-up request.
Creating vertical-specific content was also a focus, to address specific types of client needs.
4. Communicate with your teams. Integrated planning between departments is essential, said Sloan. Quarterly reviews by phone and on-site of the top 20 accounts was done in to see what was effective for different clients, verticals and regions.
5. Measure and optimize. Alfresco developed a five pronged “CAPER” strategy for accessing the success of its ABM programs:
Coverage: Do they have sufficient data, contacts and account plans for each target account?
Awareness: Are the target accounts aware of Alfresco and its solutions?
Program impact: Are marketing programs reaching the target accounts, and are they having a long-term effect?
Engagement: Are the right people at the account spending time with Alfresco, and is that engagement going up over time?
Results: How are the ABM activities improving sales outcomes such as deal velocity, win rates, average contract values, retention and satisfaction scores?