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This article is part of the ABM Now series where we explore how ABM changed in 2020. What will you take with you? What will you leave behind? Read the whole series here.
Over the past six months, we brought you eight stories of sea change. Here, as the series finale, we’ve gathered our favorite insights from more than a dozen expert interviews.
Angela Lee, Senior Demand Generation Marketing Manager, Glint
My advice is that knowing your buyer helps you be agile. We had this whole grand strategy laid out and then all of a sudden we were renegotiating contracts with event vendors and talking about virtual roadshows. But what didn’t change is the fact that we practice ABM. That means we know what makes our buyers tick—we understand their pain points and can anticipate how they’ll evolve.
A deep understanding of your customer is something that nobody can take away from you. It doesn’t matter if you now can’t afford new software tools or big expensive gift packages. You can still have a big impact and oftentimes it doesn’t cost a thing.
Stacey Adams, Marketing Director, 3C Software
Success always comes back to consistency. I’ll share a story. In a Monday marketing team meeting, we saw one rep had three new meetings. We asked how she did it and she told us, “Oh, those are all people I’ve been building relationships with over the years.” Those seeds were planted long before anyone had heard of the virus. The needs of those customers may have changed, but our rep just kept calmly following up and running her cadences. If you have a plan and a process and you’re diligent, you’ll reap the benefits even in “uncertain” times.
Tessa Barron, VP of Marketing, ON24
One-to-one webinars into top accounts allow for personalization that’s just impossible elsewhere, say with whitepapers. Show me the team that can write ten versions of a whitepaper that are actually specific to ten accounts, or ten personas. I can show you a webinar team that does it every week.
Plus, personalized webinars afford you a chance to answer people’s real questions. Here’s what I mean by this: When you write an ebook, you research it and you put it out into the world and you hope it landed. In webinars, there’s no hoping. You have a live discussion and the prospects can say, “This is great and all, but what we’re really curious about is X.” You can answer that real question right then and there, with your whole sales and marketing team listening.
Alessandra Possamai, Senior ABM Specialist, Shutterstock
It was an interesting challenge scaling up an ABM program, and an equally challenging endeavor switching gears and adapting to the realities of the market. It was a lot at once. We had to look very hard at what we’re doing and ask, “Where can we still have the most impact? What are things we might have to scale back?” Invariably, that led us back to the campaigns and activities that had made our ABM program successful in the first place. We ended up spending on fewer accounts, but spending more on each of them, and in the end, we’re seeing great results.
Now, of course, figuring out what to scale back on is tricky. ABM isn’t some inbound channel where everything is direct attribution. You’re often looking more at metrics and engagement. It presented an opportunity to educate internal stakeholders on the impact of certain marketing channels beyond the traditional form fill.
Carsen Zarin Groberg, Demand Generation Senior Manager, Limeade
One of my favorite learnings from this past year was that people care. We ran an A/B test where one group received an UberEats gift card with a nice note about buying themselves dinner from a local restaurant. The other group received a gift card they could donate to a charity of their choice. Practically nobody who received the UberEats gift card responded. Nearly all of those who got the charity gift card did.
If I were to paint with a broad brush, I think that in a time of panic, most Americans were already acting out of self-care. Recall that not long ago, we were all hoarding toilet paper. But everyone had a latent desire to give back and when we gave them that opportunity, we awakened something and created a moment of connection. Despite the fact there was no real ask, it generated meetings.
Nick Robinson, Director of Digital Marketing, SAP North America
Honestly, for me, the real value of content marketing is the data output. Those behavioral signals that make your other marketing tactics better, which is an idea Robert Rose, head of The Content Advisory, has talked a lot about. Our syndication programs provide us an immense amount of information on our key accounts and we use that information to better segment and target our event invites, lists, and territories.
We’ve seen that five people will download an asset but they aren’t the person who’ll engage with sales. And that’s okay. The role of the tactic is educating that buying group, whoever they are, wherever they are. Not everyone who reads becomes a lead, but they can be a hidden influencer.
Jesse Walsh, Senior Marketing Manager, Vidyard
We’re really focused on equipping our sales team for engaging people before, during, and after virtual events as we continue strong into 2021. Our team, of course, gets to use Vidyard sales videos, so prospects get to see and hear them, and it’s not just an anonymous text chat at a virtual booth. They’ll send a LinkedIn connection request along with a video link and that’s been really effective. Plus, they can see who watched and get a sense of their interests. We’re also preparing to launch a personalized tactile gifting platform for more tangible touches.
Zsuzsanna Blau, Senior Manager of Global Enterprise Campaigns, Nokia
The world has changed. We live in an experience economy now and we simply cannot afford not to focus on selling experiences and knowledge. I think Gartner was right in pointing out that “the single biggest challenge of selling today is actually not selling, it’s our customers’ struggle to buy.” Journeys are nonlinear and complex. Buyers are in control and they know it. Marketing’s job has shifted from convincing people to buy to helping them buy, and that puts us in the position of selling ideas and experiences.
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Demand Generation Manager, Demandbase
Stephanie Blackwell is Demand Generation Manager at Demandbase. In this role, she works as the coordinator for the ABM Leadership Alliance as well as running campaigns for Demandbase. She has a background in partner marketing and reality television production.