Account-based Marketing (ABM) is undoubtedly one of the hottest topics and buzzwords in B2B today. While B2B marketers don’t need to be convinced of the value of an ABM approach, many are still wondering how to implement ABM effectively within their organizations.
In light of this, I had the chance to catch up with my friend Charlie Liang, Director of Marketing at Engagio. He’s a four time Marketo Champion and is also certified in Salesforce and Google Analytics. He also presented in a breakout session with fellow Marketo expert Josh Hill at this past year’s Marketo Summit on the topic of ABM. This session was so jam-packed with attendees that the organizers had to turn away a crowd of 80+ people who were waiting to get in. Needless to say, he knows his stuff.
If you’d like to hear more about ABM and predictive from Charlie, Josh and myself, check out this upcoming webinar titled “How To Build A Predictable ABM Engine“. In the meantime, Charlie shares some of his thoughts on ABM in the interview below. Enjoy!
Mintigo: What are some key steps that you need to take or plan for so that you don’t fall into the trap of buying ABM technologies because it’s the latest and greatest, i.e., the “shiny new object” syndrome?
Charlie: It’s important to start with goals and strategy before discussing the toolset. Cut out all the vendor hype and think about if ABM/ABE (account-based everything) is right for your business. Understand what you’re trying to accomplish – is it bigger deals, faster sales cycles? Understand why target accounts are important for your business. Then think about the plan – how are you going to choose your accounts? Do you know the people you’re going to target at these accounts? What are you going to say and how will you deliver the message? How will you measure the success of your efforts? Technology enables all these functions but is not a panacea for bad strategy. Get your strategy sound, then use tech to execute.
Mintigo: How do you measure the effectiveness of ABM programs?
Charlie: Measurement is so important. You don’t start driving a car without knowing where you’re going first. You shouldn’t run campaigns without knowing what success looks like. For ABM, metrics should be high-level such as revenue, opportunities, and marketing qualified accounts (MQAs) influenced. Awareness and web traffic under target accounts. Newly-engaged and people added under target accounts. Those are things you need to have on your ABM dashboard.
Mintigo: The most talked-about marketing tactics and tools being used in ABM programs today include a mix of targeted display ads, web personalization, direct mail, and of course email. What other channels may be effective for ABM?
Charlie: The best way is to just ask people where they are spending their time – understand everything your target audience interacts with from the moment they get up to the moment they fall asleep. That’s usually how you get ideas for new channels. Now obviously you want to spend most of your time perfecting tried and true channels like the ones you mentioned as well. It’s getting more and more competitive, so you have to get creative and airtight with your messaging and approach.
Mintigo: You referenced the term “ABE” or account-based everything. Can you explain what that means?
Charlie: Account-Based Everything is a realization that to get the most out of your account-based efforts, you need more than just marketing alone. Your customers touch more than just marketing in their lifecycle, so why should the best practices from Account-Based Marketing end at marketing? No, you need to practice Account-Based Sales Development, Account-Based Sales, and Account-Based Customer Success as well.
Mintigo: How long have you been a marketer?
Charlie: I’ve been a marketer for 6 years. Marketing is one of those things very few people grow up wanting to be, unless your mom was the CMO of Pepsi or something. I’m kind of in the same boat. But once I tried it, I loved it, because I found the stimulation of both left and right brains to be awesome.
Mintigo: What is your favorite marketing tool (or a handful of tools) that you can’t live without?
Charlie: I think every B2B marketer should understand how CRM works – it’s key to all that we do. Salesforce, Engagio, Marketo/Eloqua and Google Analytics are tools I cannot live without. My design person is not a tool (in any sense), but he’s a must-have as well. Everything else is replaceable.
Mintigo: Thanks for sharing Charlie! Looking forward to our webinar with you!