When you buy a new suit, do you throw out all your old suits?
Unless they’re all riddled with holes and covered in stains, why would you? They still work.
And the same applies when adopting an ABM strategy: Your demand-gen still works, so why throw it out?
On today’s #TakeoverTuesday episode, special host Steve Watt speaks with guest Bob Peterson, VP of ABM for SiriusDecisions, fresh off the stage at B2BMX where he spoke about the power of the demand spectrum.
The idea behind the demand spectrum is to marry ABM strategies with your existing demand-gen strategies and get the best of both worlds.
Assess your capabilities and align corporate and sales goals
Bob: Where we started with the demand spectrum idea is recognizing you have to start by thinking about the overarching corporate goals. What are the levers the corporation needs to have polled?
Is it to enter new markets? Is it to increase offerings or grow through acquisition?
Those are those levers. Those then drive the sales go-to-market architecture and strategy. Then marketing needs to think about which approaches to ABM or demand need to be deployed that are mapped to those goals.
That’s the challenge we’ve seen too many times. Marketers start thinking first about marketing strategy and not thinking about starting with the overarching corporate goals.
Of course, if they’re looking at the corporate goals and sales go-to-market strategy before they commit as marketers to aligning to those that they assess their capabilities.
That’s exactly what we’re trying to help clients think through: Do they have the content, technology, resources and ability to measure — via the right metrics — to be able to effectively support that marketing approach?
I’d rather have them think through those marketing approaches before they’re ready to do a large ABM initiative, for example, when in fact they don’t have the right ammunition to support that.
How to use insights the right way
Bob: I think insights are what distinguish account-based marketing from more traditional broad-based marketing. But I think a lot of folks in the market talk about insights rather loosely now.
I think insights are such an important thing to get right and it’s, frankly, the number one pitfall I see when ABM programs go sideways: companies shortcut insights.
I look at insights as those critical clues, pieces of data and actionable insights that come from the hard work spent gathering all that data, aggregating it and turning it into meaningful, relevant activity plans that are based upon what we need to do for each contact within those high-value accounts.
That’s why insights are so important. But it does take work to gather the insights
The 3 types of insights
Bob: The model we encourage clients to think about is a three-bucket approach to thinking about data and insight for ABM.
It starts with profile data, which is the most rudimentary level of data that most organizations think about. This would consist of things like technographic information, firmographic information and where these accounts reside in this geography. Those are profile levels of insight.
The next level we think about is activity insight and as the word describes, it’s action-based. This would typically be gathering insights from content that’s consumed or first or third-party intent data monitoring or leadership changes within organizations.
Those all show that there’s some movement, some activity happening within an account or group of accounts.
The third type of insight is what we call derived data. As the name implies, this is derived from other data sources.
Examples of derived data and insights would be ideal customer profiling or using predictive analytics to better understand who those lookalike-accounts are that we want to pursue because we’ve been successful in the past.
What it takes to be an account-based marketer
Bob: it’s a great time to be an account-based marketer. Not a week goes by I’m not hearing from a client about the need to find these unicorns called account-based marketers.
I look at the ones that are successful and they have that unique skill set that includes the ability to be strategic thinkers.
They can hold their own in a meeting with grizzled sales veterans; they can think creatively about execution. They understand digital marketing and field events like the back of their hand.
That’s a skill set that is pretty unique, but we’ve seen organizations trying to incorporate those skill sets into the structure of their job descriptions to find account-based marketers.
And, at Sirius, we help our clients do just that. We’ve got a number of role profiles we’ve created for a global ABM leader — as opposed to an account-based marketer. You can’t just pluck anybody out of the marketing ecosystem and say “there, you’re now an ABMer.”
It’s something that takes some nuance and experience to be able to build up the credibility to be a modern account-based marketer.
ABM vs. marketing to accounts
Bob: There is a distinction between marketing to accounts and account-based marketing that is central to this demand spectrum idea that I shared today.
With the rise of account-based marketing, a lot of companies look at the definition of ABM and think it’s all about creating a defined universe. So, they’ll put a ring around 200 accounts and say “There, that’s my defined universe for ABM,” and then they’ll just market to them the way they always have.
That’s not true account-based marketing.
There’s really nothing account-based in terms of the deliverables that are going out to the contacts within those high-value accounts.
The account-based marketing side, as opposed to marketing to accounts, is fueled by those insights that drive what you do. I think that’s important for organizations to understand.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with marketing to accounts. It’s a totally viable business strategy. It just doesn’t meet the rigors of what we talk about when we talk about true account-based marketing.