A few weeks ago, before we all started sheltering at home, we had the opportunity to sit down with long-time ABM practitioner Jessica Garrett for the latest episode of our video series “Ask an ABM Expert.” With over 15 years of experience and recognition as a top marketing executive in Atlanta by several associations, Jessica has a proven track record in revenue growth for top-tier organizations. She has run global marketing for billion-dollar businesses and has rapidly scaled startups through the creation of new categories, driving corporate branding and positioning, creating B2C and B2B campaigns tied to ROI, and standing up innovative martech stacks.
Triblio’s been lucky to have Jessica as a customer for about 5 years. At her previous company, Veristor, she was one of the first to integrate third-party intent into a holistic ABM strategy. Jessica’s team and use case drove a lot of the intent-based orchestration capabilities that Triblio clients use on a regular basis today.
In episode 7 of “Ask and ABM Expert,” Jessica sheds light on how B2B marketers can make the case for ABM and prove the value of their marketing efforts. As the economy takes a turn for the worst through this COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever for marketing leaders to hold up their end of the bargain and make real contributions to pipeline and revenue.
Talk the Talk: Getting Buy-in for Your ABM Program
One of the challenges that marketers face today is getting buy-in for ABM from everyone that needs to be involved. In our interview with Jessica, she suggests that the single most important thing we can do is talk the language that the rest of your organization is speaking.
I think we can all agree that as marketers, we’re proud of the repertoire of acronyms we’ve built up – ABM, B2B, MQL, SQL, TAM, PPC – you get the picture. Ironically, that’s where the issue arises.
“The problem is, it’s not the language that the sales team speaks in and it’s not the language that the CEO speaks in,” says Jessica. “When we’re talking about ABM, we’ve got to remember to frame it up in the context of helping the sales team achieve their goals and helping the business overall achieve its goal.”
Salespeople are interested in pipeline expansion and acceleration, and CEOs want to hear about revenue. Running an account-based program will help grow both pipeline and revenue, but unless we talk about marketing in that way, they won’t know it. Marketers are working to champion ABM, which is great because we know it works, but we need to make sure we’re communicating our gospel to the organization effectively. Everyone is trying to identify whether or not you’re going to help meet the company forecast, so explain it in terms they’ll understand.
Walk the Walk: Deliver on the Metrics that Matter
According to many well-documented studies, including this ITSMA survey, ABM has shown to drive higher ROI than other forms of marketing. Meaning, ABM strategies routinely help marketers get to the bottom line and deliver both growth and acceleration.
The crux of account-based-marketing is identifying the ideal customer profile (ICP) and working within a targeted account list to grow revenue. Whether you’re running a one-to-few or one-to-one ABM strategy, you’re only going after a defined set of accounts.
In order to show value, the main metrics you present to your organization need to show revenue and pipeline growth within an established target account list.
Sure, you’ll need all kinds of other metrics to run your campaigns and optimize each channel. It’s not a bad idea to look at ad click-through rates, direct mail open rates, etc. However, those metrics aren’t the metrics that matter to your CEO.
What you’re going to want to be telling your CEO and head of sales is, “ ‘here’s how much revenue I’m generating through this program, within that target account list, and here’s how much pipeline.’ That is what’s going to get you the success of the program in their eyes, and then, of course, the future budget and time to grow that program,” explains Jessica.
In the present economic downturn, honing in on an account-based strategy might actually be the answer for some marketers. ABM wastes less marketing spend. It’s more efficient than traditional marketing channels because it puts a lot of emphasis on targeting the right accounts.
Plus, the efficiency in account-based strategies trickles down through the entire organization. ABM strategies can bring a lot of value to sales reps as well. Explain to your sales leader how going account-based will support their teams. This includes providing unified air cover as well as actionable insights for their accounts.
In short, you can make the case for ABM by teaming up your sales and marketing departments and using hard numbers to illustrate the financial impact of implementing an account-based approach. ABM is ultimately about executing on pipeline and revenue growth, and who doesn’t want that?