Work Smarter, Not Harder : Account-based marketing (ABM)

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a focused type of marketing in which individual companies are identified and targeted with customized messages. This hyper-targeted approach leads to higher close rates and a more successful journey through the sales funnel. While this is a relatively new kind of marketing, the results can not be denied. We will discuss how to plan and execute an ABM campaign.

Dustin: OK, guys, we are going to go ahead and get started. Thank you for joining us again for another Fluid Webinar Series event. Today’s webinar is titled ‘Work smarter not harder.’ We are going to be talking about understanding account-based marketing; what it is and how to do it and give you guys some strategic thoughts around it, see if your business isn’t a great fit for it and how we could help you put one of these into place within your organization.

As usual, my name is Dustin Cederholm. I am Digital Marketing Director for Fluid and I have with me today Phil Case. Phil, do you want to introduce yourself?

Phil: Hey, good to be with you. I have been a ready guest on the webinar series over the last year with Dustin and I am excited to be talking about this today, one of the topics that I am most passionate about.

Dustin: Yeah, I am definitely excited about toady’s webinar and if you guys are as well, you can follow along as we live tweet the event. We are on Tweeter and use the hashtag: #FluidWebinarSeries and you can also direct message us @GetFluid.

Today we are going to be a lot quicker than usual. This is a topic that I think that we can go through in a short timeframe. We have a lot of really interesting information and we think you guys can get a lot of value out of this and so it will be a little bit quicker. Just so you know, we will at twelve o’clock go live on FaceBook and we are going to have Jesse Angeles join us then. So if you guys want to switch over you can actually watch us live as we answer your Q&A. So, if you have questions, send them through the chat or the Q&A and we would be happy to answer them at the end of this presentation.

So, with that let’s get started. I think the question is ‘What is account based marketing?’ I have here, just a quick definition of what account based marketing is.

And that is: Account-based marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on an organization’s most sought after clients using inbound and outbound marketing tactics to introduce lure and close targeted accounts.

That’s kind of my corporate definition. Phil how do you define account based marketing?

Phil: You know, I often think as marketers we think we need to go out and cast the wide net and go fishing and try to bring in as many fish as we can and pull them in the boat and consider that success…but as we are smart about marketing, the definition that I love which is most sought after clients, and I usually tell the companies that I work on this to go talk to your sales team and who are the clients they would just get excited about? Who would they salivate to have in their lead pipeline and is rapidly nearing a close that they’re going to win the deal. Those are the clients that this is a perfect fit for instead of casting a wide net and doing board inbound marketing. This is like deciding which girl you are going to date and pursuing her and courting her. So, I think… even a dating analogy to say is that type of intimate detail we’ll get into because these are real people and we want to build real sincere relationship with them and account-based marketing is a way to do that.

Dustin: Absolutely, I hear so often that the rifle or shotgun approach is a similar analogy. So, this is definitely more of a rifle tactic…it is one-to-one…we are going after the big clients that maybe your sales team has been pursuing for many years and maybe they have been stifled by a gate-keeper and can’t get to that decision maker’ or maybe you just have a large list of these and maybe you want to create a comprehensive strategy to go after them but you know who they are. So, we will talk about planning the steps of all this and a little bit more around who uses…. Oh, excuse me…yes, Phil?

Phil: Yes, one last thing on this. I think one of the reasons as topics we love is that Fluid… we are passionate about growth acceleration within the companies we work within. In order to accelerate growth, which is really revenue, we are marketing impact sales the most impact is in these types of channels where we know exactly who the sales team needs to go after to grow their book of business. Marketing is having a direct impact on that and is measurable and we know that we are able to close ten more deals from that and that’s worth a hundred thousand dollars. So, those types of activities are marketing sales and working side by side in this demand generation format, I think account-based marketing is a good fit for that.

Dustin: And you make an important point right there. One of the unique thinks about account-based marketing is that you can put to it based off the type of clients that you are going after. Usually, this is the tier one clients and so with the kind of shotgun approach you will get the small projects, the medium projects, the large projects maybe not quite as often but you are getting a different type of mix but here, you know what you expect this person to sign on as and that’s why you are targeting them in this way. And so I think this is a really great way to put that [05:21] or that dollar to the bottom line of how will this campaign affect me and for the most part, it’s one or two closed accounts in this kind of a game that can have a huge impact. We are not talking hundreds of leads here, this is very targeted…one, two, three, marking out three of the fifty you have been going after for so long can be really significant.

Phil: So, as we talk about this next slide here about when to use account-based marketing, B2B is not particularly important. This really is a good fit when you purchase a software business and you are trying to win over that new client of other businesses. When you have identified targeted accounts, I would submit that every business should have, especially if you have identifiable targeted accounts. If you don’t, that’s something that you may sharpen the pencil a little bit on.

Dustin: And an easy way to do that is to go back and look on your tier one. Who are you billing the most? Who are you getting most revenue from? We want to do lookalikes of those. I would say, if you don’t know the actual names, you can kind of back into it. ‘What are the companies that give you the most revenue look like and can we re-create those and mimic those by building a list of those types of clients.

Phil: So yes, I think when we talk about clients or account size, so many of the businesses that we work with are the SMB space- that’s because it’s a start up and they are just desperate for cash, they will work with just about anyone; but as organizations mature and they then say ‘who are we and how will we be long term sustainable?’, they know they have to move to mid-market and to more enterprise type account. So, this is exactly what account-based marketing is a great fit for. It is when you are trying to upgrade your future client list. It’s when you get after those top tier clients and especially when the sales funnel is longer than a week or two. When it is sometimes three to six months to a year…this is an excellent fit because this is about long term relationships.

Dustin: So another thing with it is that ABM works for identifiable decision makers. This could be your sales guy sitting with the sales manager and he has had the same five people on his list for a year or maybe even longer and you don’t have to break down a wall to get into it. ABM is a strategy that helps them achieve that. So, if you guys are sales managers C-suite, this is something that really looks at how you are managing these groups and if they are struggling, this is something that you can employ. The last one is just active sales force, so, ABM in my mind works best with cells and you have heard me and Fluid talk a lot about smarketing and the sales and marketing revolution where we really need to bring these two groups together a lot closer and ABM relies on that type of relationship. Most of the marketing that Phil and I have been talking about for a long time is really relationship based marketing anymore. We have gone away from just smearing the industry and now we want to do segmenting and targeted communication and this is just another outlet for that and maybe even goes a little further where it is the one-to-one.

Phil: And I would say especially…it interesting, we often would approach a CEO or a VP of sales before we talk to marketing because they tend to get the account-based marketing quicker, they see the value and they see the impact it will have on revenue. One quick aside. Inside Sales, which we know is a fairly large company here in Utah, valued at multiple billions…they recently underwent some major structural changes in terms of how they did lead flow in the past that was…we need to cram a thousand leads down every, you know, sales person’s throat in order to hit our numbers because we know the math works out to x. But they kind of went back and threw their software and algorithms, which are quite impressive, they were able to take those broader lead lists, prequalify these individuals from thousand down to only, say, two or three hundred. They had a lot less leads and they actually kind of shrunk their sales team a bit but what they found was that they closed at a much higher rate and they were more focused. They were able to progress those larger accounts through the funnel than just focus on everyone. It was interesting how they have undergone this change. It was painful but for them, nuy it was about the quality of the lead flow rather than the quantity of the lead flow.

Dustin: You know, that’s really interesting you bring that up. I once listened to the CMO of Semantec…excuse us, we’ll stop the background noise. Sorry about that. So, I listened to the CEO of Semantec and she was talking to one of her sales guys and he had come to her so excited because he had made one hundred percent of the calls that he had been asked to do and he just hammered through these calls. And she kind of looked at him and she wasn’t as impressed as he was with himself and what it came down to her saying ‘Why didn’t you just pick the best ones and call those first and then you wouldn’t have had to go so quickly and you would have called the ones that really mattered’. And so it sounds like Inside Sales said the same thing. Some of these enterprise companies are really flipping the script on the tradition what we think dial, dial, dial…and I think even small companies can take a page out of that book.

Phil: Yeah, agreed.

Dustin: OK, so just really quickly. In an account based marketing strategy, who are all the players internally to your company who are required in… we just talked about it. It really is sales and marketing. Those are the keys. I think for this to really work you have to have a lot more buy in. Phil, what have you seen as far as when you talk to people that works best?

Phil: You know ultimately you have to get almost everyone’s buy in on this because customer service matters to the IT analytics but we typically start with sales and C-Suite…I usually begin with the CEO and they are the ones that are most interested. A quick example. One of our clients Conversa, we have been, now, working with them for well over one and a half years now and we have been talking about account based marketing and it’s a great fit for them and I wasn’t getting any traction…and I finally went skiing with the CEO one day and spent about three or four hours on the slopes talking to him. And he said ‘I don’t know why we didn’t start this months ago. Come meet me and we’ll pull all the key players together and start’…and we started right away. Sometimes they see the impact that this can have and it makes so much sense to just focus on where you are actually going to get the most results.

Dustin: Another thing I want to mention. I have heard ABM. ABM kind of started in the 2015 and it’s been going on long before that but that’s really where it became the buzz word and people kind of thought they would rush to it and people haven’t necessarily…you don’t see a ton of ABM out there. It has gotten bigger…2016, better technologies, things of that nature that make it easier. It is still a growing thing and so I think there is a lot of opportunities to take this on with the example of Conversa.

Phil: Uhuh…

Dustin: OK, so, quickly we just want to give you the steps to creating an account based marketing strategy, something for you guys to be considering with your teams if you were going down this path. What does it actually take? The first is obviously the list. Phil maybe you can help tell us a little bit about how people are building lists and where they might get these names.

Phil: Yes. It is interesting. We build it in a couple of ways. One is…. first and foremost, usually visiting with the sales team to say who are those mid-market to enterprise prospects that you would love to get to know and develop a relationship with. So, we have them pull their key kind of suspect and prospect list that they want to go after. Secondly, we will often have them say ‘here are the top, most profitable and best-valued accounts that we have’. So, we will go through their existing list and establish the tier one of their clients. We will also have them look through their prospect list and have them rate those. We then take that information and that allows us to go to our list providers with the research that we will do and not only find lookalikes and matches and reverse engineer ‘how do we get these types of qualified companies based on information they have given us going through some of the industry codes and beginning to kind of scrub those lists… so we love to not only to first ascertain the companies we think would be a great fit for them based on the information they have given us and then when we get down to the detail of their email addresses and names and titles and phone numbers, mailing addresses and social profiles….anything that we can get as we begin to build those list, we really begin to profile not just companies but real individuals that they want to get to know long term.

Dustin: And I have even gone into businesses and seen where they have a big target and a vinyl graph and they have a list of those companies. If you can get it to that point, I really think you are at an advantage. Every day you are looking at it. That’s who you are targeting and then being able to build that list. ‘Who are the titles?’ who are the people?’ and deliver ABM to them.

Step two is Channel Identification. I think that this is a really important thing because there are so many channels available and we often get lost in this. Not all of them really fit with an ABM strategy specifically and so this next slide is my considered issue. I feel Channel Identification is twofold. First you need to sit with your group and strategize. What channels are your target accounts actually engaging on?’ They maybe all over the place but they maybe not actually engaging on every single one in a business related way that they are going to be thinking ‘Now this is going to be a sell’. We kind of talk about how there are some channels that you may not expect may really work based on the custom audience list that you are using and so it actually does bring them into play. First off I think it is just an internal strategy session. ‘Where are our target audience?’ and there might be some creative solutions to that.

Phil: And one of the ways to do that is… if we cannot back into this, we have done bio-persona mapping along with bio journey so we understand more about these people than simple name and email addresses. We know where they spend their time, where they hang out where they might see ads, how they think, how they make decisions and the kind of behaviors around that…so the real goal is to be as creative as possible to say people are humans and how do we react with another human and get them to warm up to a company. So, instead of calling them cold leads you are calling warmed up leads and…so our focus with this is to…you know the channels to this that are selected are those channels we feel have the most direct impact in building a real relationship. So, a lot of the time it is doing a direct response campaign with a physical mallard. As part of that some digital kind of air cover with some social content that we are publishing, so, we want to effectively surround these people with multiple channels and influence them to have them almost inadvertently think ‘Wow, who are these guys I keep seeing them everywhere’ and almost kind of ease into it. It is that kind of that mentality of turning up your habit of …you know turn up from cold to hot boiling water. And they almost don’t realize it but all of a sudden they are warmed up and they begin to interact and engage with the brand because it feels familiar. What they don’t realize is that we have played to their psyche and because there are multiple channels and caged sense engaged them then they have developed innate brand awareness and even some interesting curiosity. And so, as we think of channel mix, there is kind of larger play there so we want to make sure touching them frequently and in ways that it just seems natural.

Dustin: Absolutely agree, and I am noticing that the direct [17:32] on this slide, and it’s kind of a cost consideration. If you can do that, there are ways to do this on a budget but I think to employ a great ABM you need that direct piece.

Step three is just Asset Creation. Now that we have figured out what channel we want to be on, we have to create the assets to deploy those and so this is an example of all the different banner ad sizes that are out there. Not comprehensive, obviously, but it’s just a sampling. What you really want to do is pick the top performers. A lot of that is IAB. That’s when you can get more of the coverage, more of the channels will display them but considering just what you really need. So, here is a small of the things that you need to just get started.

And step four is deployment. We have got all of the assets, we have our strategy in place, now we need to make it run. So, this is setting off the different campaigns within Facebook, within LinkedIn, your email campaigns, ad works, getting the assets as far as the direct mail or ad list. Make sure you have a list provider and that you are able to mail it out and just all of those different things and now just get in play and make sure everything is going out. We usually talk about a ten to twelve-week campaigns or so this is what you are starting to watch as this goes out. The last step of it is as it goes out you are monitoring and optimizing. I think this is a really important step in everything because as you start an ABM campaign, one thing that we notice is there is a lot of fine tuning involved and the learning is often not based on data at first because a lot of people say ‘Oh, these are our target audience but then the title that we have isn’t reacting the way we expected them to and so we might need to up to the C level to try to get it to trickle down or even down to a level director level to get it to percolate up to the VP or C level and so there is  a lot of just monitoring and watching how the response is going to find out if people are really doing what we expected them to and if they are not, how do we change that to achieve that.

Phil: One last thing…just to underline all of this just the systems that we need to execute. It is hard to execute an ABM strategy without good systems and technology. So, typically, the companies that we work with not only do we have the assets built out on the list but we working within a CRM like a cell. We are working with a marketing animation platform, like ACTON or like HUBSPOT. So, it is important that we can have everything. We try to build these campaigns within existing client system so they are tractable, they are identifiable and this allows us to measure the effectiveness of everything that Dustin just shared in terms of monitoring and optimization happens through those platforms.

Dustin: Agreed. And so one of the last things we really want to go over is the importance of cadence. For me this is where the sales in marketing really comes together…really have… we have been able to do campaign marketing successfully without a sales person involved in it because the direct mail the display ads…everything that is going into really is this person looking for more information and we want the salesperson to react. Where these are B2B, where they are longer funnel sales, where there is high dollar, there is a lot of explaining that goes into it. So, this isn’t going on e-commerce buy a pair of shoes you are really needing to explain a lot of things that people may or may not want to read online the entire time. What ABM is doing is it’s kind of giving them the white papers and case studies and information on linking pages for people to get a concept of it but it is really the sales guy reaching out making that phone call. ‘I got you interested. How do I get you to the next step and speed everything the up.? And so we are kind of like Phil’s first point, like this is the dating phase’. Now we have got beyond the date but you got to bring that sales person in to seal the deal.

Phil: Yeah and the interactions as we get further in the campaign, these will tend to run eight to twelve weeks… sometimes a little longer but we like to, by the middle of the campaign, begin actively involving the sales people, funneling an email with our names directly on it or beginning to have them call in to those more engaged leads. So we begin to back out of it from an ABM perspective while they continue to increase their presence with these actual prospects.

Phil: And then back to step five which is the monitoring. Letting ourselves finding out ‘Are we, again reaching the right titles, the companies, the right size etc., etc. They can be an informant on how we need to tweet the digital and direct aspects of what we are doing.

Phil: And lastly we want to share just a brief example. So, PluralSight is a fairly large technology company. They do a lot of education and learning and training for developers and ad designers and they are global in nature and have been very, very successful. They approached us a little while back and wanted us to do an account based marketing campaign and so, just as an example of how a strategy build-up for them. First off, they gave their kind of top three hundred kinds of key accounts that they wanted to get in front of these or some of the larger Fortune Five Hundred like around the world and they gave us the VP levels that they wanted to get the attention of. That’s sometimes difficult to do with a corporation of that size and so we took that list of companies that they had provided and we began to build out titles that we can pre-identify that they felt would be strategic…how deep can we go? Can we get three to four to five individuals within each organization? What information can we buy and validate and make sure is accurate? We begin to build out a list. We begin to map the strategy and the cadence. This is one of the fun ones that per lead they were willing to spend up to nine hundred dollars because of how valuable these were and so as we built out, this kind of approach to this market we were able to do a little more creative things here. And so not only did we have emails and landing pages and social content that was the point on channels and on social channels and ad campaigns that we were able I to include a direct response campaign that was a multitouch. So, for instance, we began serving up, week one, social content at these directors and VP level individuals could see on LinkedIn and Facebook and Twitter. We then sent an email the following week then reached out to them via LinkedIn and Twitter direct messages and Twitter direct messages. And based on some of the responses by week four, these key prospects we have been sending them a box that they would open up with a message which says ‘this is how you are used to learning. This is how ideas have come in the past. Let Plural sight show you a better way’ and we have a little bit more messaging and then by week four or seven, they each received a small LED light bulb with really neat packaging that asit opened up, the sides dropped down-incredible branding on it-and they got a smart LED light bulb that had the plug to go and they saw that it was already coded for the PluralSight branding. For them it was a gift and the messaging that tied right into the campaign that said we want to build a relationship with you. And just being able to build out that cadence continued to weeks ten and twelve based on each one of those prospects. That was one that was fun to do because of the cost per acquisition of these leads. You know, we had a little more to work with there but because they were so willing to be creative and really high end, their branding and messaging into the campaign and making the investment,  time and resources to do it right.

Dustin: And, I think that’s what it is all about. This is something that lets you shine and really show your brand’s personality. What really sets you apart and, so many times with our offerings, we have competitors that are really close to us through representing relationships or just true value added we have a better preparatory system, whatever it might be we got to find a great way to show that to people. We also have to get them to listen to it. So many times you get direct mail and you just toss it. That’s why the cadence and the ongoing aspect of it, the multitouch point, the cross device …everything about that really works with getting somebody to sit down and say ‘OK I am going to give you five minutes’. In today’s world, five minutes is pretty much gold and does that relay to a sales person getting in the door and getting to sit with you? Getting that skiing trip. Getting that golf round or just a lunch or whatever it is. I think that is what is so important about doing this specifically.

Phil: So as we sort of conclude here in summary…it very much is, I wouldn’t say that it is not even a rifle approach it is more a sniper approach and we got to get our targets and we need to use all means to bring them in by all means necessary. When it’s the B2B contracts, when it is hard to get decision makers, this is such a great fit and you will find no better strategy I think that you could execute but as we talked about building this list that is really the most critical step up front because that determines the cadence. It determines the type of content and assets that we are deploying and the quality of the data kind of comes through. These campaigns are successful as Dustin mentioned. We don’t have to bring in hundreds of contacts. Success in a campaign might be determined at five or ten considering the pipeline and then close. This idea of being iterated and tweaking and testing as you go and being open to making some pivots as we learn, I think is the right mentality to have.

Dustin: Absolutely. Just the last part about being creative. You need to be able to stand out and in a world where everybody is doing display advertising, everybody is already sending emails. They are sending a piece here and there. How do you actually pull it all together, make it into an account based strategy, not just one off channel with chat? You may have one off with different people and you are running those and they are just not working well together. This really brings that Omni-channel approach that we are trying to achieve to a strategic campaign that you absolutely will be recognized for. This is something again…it’s been talked about a lot but still not a lot of people are doing it. So the more creative you can and the more bring this together the better the results will be.

Phil: And, I think you find as technology improves and people get more and more annoyed with advertising…and people don’t like to be sold but they like to be invited, they to learn, they like thought leadership, they like you to educate them and challenge their way of thinking. You can’t be sparkling roam and grown popularity, you know. We are helping pioneer some of the efforts both here in Utah and working with organizations such as ACTON in developing their own account based marketing platform. So, this is something that we look forward to and will continue to make considerable investment in.

Dustin: And you brought something up that came to mind there, Phil. It is almost a brag point. When done well, it gives your sales guys something to really brag about as they go into different sales approaches…their sales meetings, excuse me. It almost increases moral. When somebody is stoked about the company, stoked about their sales collateral that they go on route with, it almost increases their energy and can help increase the sale as well. There is kind of an intangible to it in my opinion as well.

And so we are going to jump to questions on Facebook, but before we do, I want to thank Phil for joining us today. I appreciate your being on.

Phil: Good to be here and thanks for spending a few minutes to talk about what I think is one of the most important topics that is out there B2B marketing today.

Dustin: I agree. We are quickly going to take a short break and we are going to switch over to Facebook live. We will continue the webinar, so you can hear the Q&A from here as well but give us one second. We will get it set up and you’ll see that go live in just a moment.

Fantastic. We are here again at Get Fluid monthly webinar. I had Jesse Angeles join me, our director of business development and for those of you in Facebook land we have been doing a webinar for the last thirty or so minutes, which you can find in about a week or so to be posted to our resource pages; GetFluid,com/resources.

We were talking about account based marketing today, we are going to take a short Q&A from the crowd…so we are just going to go ahead and jump into that.

Jesse, our first question is ‘How do I find the right clients to pursue?’ and thinking, you know, an account-based marketing, I know you sit with a lot of clients and one of the things I love about you is you do a really great job of asking them the questions so that they will us the answer to help us pursue. What kinds of advice would you give them to find their clients that they need to go after?

Jesse: That’s a great question. The best way to be able to figure that out is… well, one is, sort of to go away from the shotgun approach that the typical sales individual would go after that most sales team will. If being able to rely on certain things like account-based marketing on tap. What it does is being able to get to know them on a personal level. Not everybody is a fit in sales and not everybody is a fit to do business with. That is a broad stroke as well as a shotgun approach. So, being able to find out who is going to work well is look at the history that you have worked with. That is the clients that have been able to do not necessarily their cash positive, but are more on the end of ‘we have had a great relationship with’, open communication and we have really been able to fulfill with them and that’s for any industry.

Dustin: You know, I sat in a meeting the other day and they were talking about culture fit. I think that’s something where the numbers do make sense but can you even dial it further to even ‘which of our clients really bring in a lot of revenue? But which ones also fit the culture? And with that comes ease and positivity within your organization, within the other organization, more long term relationships…so I think culture is one of the things we forget in this.

Jesse: Oh absolutely, absolutely. That’s one of the things….we are on the old sales adages, ‘people buy from people they like’ and when they like you and they respect you then money kind of takes a back seat. You are absolutely right, culture is so strong in that one and it’s a term that’s thrown around quite a bit but culture means a lot of different things for a lot of different companies. They mean anything from ‘how open our communication is or do you get us as a company’ so for sales people it does them good to do their homework on the people they are talking to instead of just pitching to everybody.

Dustin: I agree. I think we have kind of gotten into the weeds because we are dashing about the answer…

Jesse: Yes, absolutely.

Dustin: …but I didn’t get an answer but I think in a nutshell it’s look at your history, consult with your sales people and then make sure it is a fit for you as well.

Jesse: Absolutely.

Dustin: Take our next one. Our question is ‘How many clients can my company afford to pursue?’ That is actually a very good question. Phil actually kind of talked about this. In the example of girls when I began the webinar, Phil was saying that he had a CPA of about nine hundred dollars. When you are talking accounts that are six figures, seven figures to get a contract, that’s well within their means and probably not even…they can probably go higher for those types of clients. I think that in answering that question ‘How many account can my company afford to pursue?’ you really need to get back to ‘What are the channels you want to use?’….

Jesse: Right.

Dustin: …are you going to be using a direct mail piece? And then ‘how fancy is that direct mail piece?’…

Jesse: Right.

Dustin: …and I don’t think you have to make these things fancy. I think it is about being creative and the fact that the fact that you have done a well-planned direct mailer. And in the webinar for example we talked about that it was a three-piece mailer and I think it is interesting that so often we get one thing from somebody and you get another one from somebody and we toss it. If you have a progressively, you know larger or better product that you are getting, you are actually creating a dialogue through direct mail and so I think that is a really fun way to do it. And you can do that kind of…you can go expensive or you can go cheap. I don’t know that there is really an answer. What you have to do is look at what the account of your target audience is? What is the expected return and again with account-based marketing you can really do that because these are all tier ones. You are going after people that you expect to be a six figure or a seven figure, even if it is ten thousand dollars for one client if that’s your contract…if you spend ten thousand dollars on the whole campaign just one is going to put you positive.

Jesse: Well, we got to look at today…the world we live in today. Everything is mobile, everything is direct. It is in our hands but that direct mailing piece that you were talking about…that is profound. I have talked to other companies that have used that before and it is amazing who they will be able to get in front of because it takes time and people will appreciate that time being able to engage with them on a more personal level past the email. So, it makes more sense to have that. You are getting something that is meaningful from that sale not just a typically a dealership with a little key on there you know. You are talking about ‘come in here and see if that unlocks the car’. That doesn’t have a lot of emotion to it. It brings that emotion content over there, that emotional quotient that helps them go ‘You know what? Maybe they really care about obtaining my business” And that speaks true to anybody, including myself. I am a big consumer if I feel emotional, I will give it more attention.

Dustin: I think that’s a really great point and actually segway into our next question…’How does ABM differ from simple retargeting or mix matching?’

That, to me, is also a really good question because we sell this and so many people are ‘aren’t we doing this already?’ and the answer is ‘No, truly you are not’ and I actually think you touched on it just now.

What I think is differ about ABM, first off, is that you really sat down and targeted these people. whereas simple retargeting or mix matching is everybody…

Jesse: Yeah…

Dustin: …you didn’t actually…you are just going…it’s the shotgun again, I am going to take large quantities and I hope a few of them boil down…

Jesse: Right think

Dustin: …but, with this you’re actually selecting the top tier but you have a good reason for them and then I think it’s a dialogue. It’s the fact that there is a planned dialogue that has a set duration and you deliver a specific set of information that they can grow on and eventually get that trust. But I think what is so important about that dialogue is what you just said and that is the emotion quotient, the mix matching and retargeting can’t achieve.

Jesse: Absolutely. We have had those conversations with clients together and one of the funniest things you hear is ‘that’s kind of weird. That’s kind of creepy’, you know, you being able to dial down and find that person you are looking at…you know, when we look at certain things…let’s go back to family. And family is…what do they always say at the holidays when you give the gift, right? Maybe it is not the sweater that you wanted, it is the thought that counts. It is exactly that. When we are talking about reaching out to clients at that particular level and being able to hit at that …right on the dot. Saying that ‘How do you know that I like that?’, but they are trying to be able to understand you not to gain your confidence but to show that they care. They really want to be able to invest into that

Dustin: Yeah, you said it so well. You actually care enough to actually put them through this program and they recognize quickly that they are being targeted and these people are coming after me and hopefully it’s done in a respectful and emotional way…

Jesse: Yeah…

Dustin: …that it’s like ‘I am really starting to like these guys even though I know they are trying to sell me something.

Jesse: Of course.

Dustin: Let’s jump just to the next one. The question is ‘Can my marketing manager handle this or do we need to handle an agency?

Good question…and we get these questions almost every webinar and it’s hard to answer these questions. I think that if you not familiar with accounts based marketing you really should have somebody behind it who does kind of understand it. That doesn’t mean you don’t have a really excellent marketing manager out there who has done their research. I mean there is accounts based marketing conferences out there, so I know and I met directors and marketers there so I know there is a lot of very skilled people with this. In the PluralSight example, we were working directly with their director and so they understood what was going on as well. Part of the advantage I think the agency provides, is some of that creativity and out of the box thinking. Often times, I think that if you are in the company you are too close to it and you can’t step aside. The other is really identifying what is the message and what is that emotional aspect. I think you guys hear from me I am continually harping on benefits versus features, I guess no matter which one. The fact that benefits obviously being the better one…

Jesse: Yeah.

Dustin: …companies make that mistake so often, it is good to have somebody outside looking in. I don’t know Jess what do you think?

Jesse: It is really a good question. It really is. And the big thing to really look at is on a personal level. Personal level meaning this…we look at anything in our lives for instance, I had my refrigerator break down. Instead of calling somebody I spent ten hours, this last weekend, fixing it on my own. And we think about that within businesses. I bring this point to a client which I recently had spoken to and all the time we are talking about it, it’s the ROI. The return on investment and that’s great but what we really ought to think about is the return on marketing, the ROM. What are we trying to be able to accomplish there? The greatest thing is how much time are you willing to into learning on your own? Or do you rely on professional who do this day in day out to be able to provide us that key content over there that we are looking for? You know really it just comes down to pride. It really comes down to pride. Are we willing to outsource that part and absolutely you should. It shouldn’t be entirely, as we see a lot of companies secure an agency for everything, good and bad. Things like that but on this you really won’t to rely on somebody that have that experience. If you have somebody in your own organization that’s been able to prove it? Great, don’t outsource it but don’t you feel like you can do the whole Time life magazines and books to say ‘I can fix my kitchen sink’. You know if you have certain things that you are not good at and you can confidently say ‘I can get this going and I know the time line and I can get a healthy return? You should be able to think about that one, a return on marketing or a return on investment.

Dustin: I agree. I think we just have time for one more. So our last question is ‘My business has small money conversions, is ABM right for us?’

I think we kind of touched on it just now. I actually think that ABM can work for you and I think it is with your target accounts. You should be able to put an expected return. You expect that these guys we are picking is going to bring five thousand dollars. You expect that they are going to bring ten thousand dollars. I won’t even get into what I think the multiplier is for a customer lifetime value and…but that’s hard for most people to prove anyway, but that’s the real number we all should be looking at to bring you back to the one we are all caught up with and that’s just with that initial conversion and so I think with a small money conversion we can absolutely do this.  I have even seen companies who have a pretty good CPA they have done it with BLC and even send somebody to get something in return. There are a lot of sites that you actually get stuff for free. There is like and they will send you their product and it is usually like little tide bottles or something like that. They are willing to send you this product and they are doing digital campaign to get you there to request it and so in a way that’s ABM model as well. But I think that the answer is yes that you can but you need to sit down and just see what is the return going to be on it. Is it worth it? But, I think the greater consideration with ABM is ‘why are we using ABM?’ and ABM is mostly used for ‘do we have gate keepers that are keeping us out of specific key clients?’  How do we go around them? How do we supersede them?’ So, ABM is really a way to get to direct to that person when there haven’t been a lot of successes in other ways. The other is ‘Do you have sales to work with?’ and so sales guide kind of compliment ABM in such a good way…

Jesse: Oh yeah…

Dustin: …. picking up that phone and that’s where you can reduce the cost of your ABM, where you can replace the direct with more of a sales guy if he can walk in rather than pay the postage or cost of product, the you can decrease it that way. I think in any model you can make it work but I think it’s more ‘what is the product we are trying to solve that we are applying accounts based marketing to?’

Jesse: Yeah. Absolutely. It is the human to human contact. Especially in smaller companies, it can work really well. Both sides can work but you hit it perfectly. You got to be able to find out what your market is and if it is going to be valued interest to be able to put that money towards that one and find different ways to become creative and rely on certain agencies to be able to work with you on strategic methods that will Yeah really be able to stretch that dollar over there and be able to prove that it is going to able to give you back that return and then your being able to see that ‘Yes, this does work’. It has to be done smartly.

Dustin: And I want to qualify one thing. We talk a lot about return and I don’t think accounts-based marketing is always returns-based. It is so hard to even introduce your company sometime that a company’s marketing is that thing by which they will remember you. You make actually take this piece home talk to your wife about it or word of mouth but the remembrance of it…

Jesse: Yeah…

Dustin: …even if it is three years down the road, I will like ‘I remember this one company, the brand building of a company’s marketing really is there and so I don’t think that we should be completely hung up with ROI and even really getting something. If you are really out to make your presence known and make people remember who you are, this is a fantastic tactic and so for all those listening we talk about ROM and ROI but you feel like you want to reach that person and you are hoping to run into him at a trade show and you don’t expect to convert, that is a perfect expectation. Remember you have a warm conversation to start ‘Oh I think I got this from you’ and just how much easier it is to close the deal if it is down the road just based on ‘I know who you are’.

Jesse: No, you are right. Absolutely right and that’s one of the things that I try to touch with ROM. You got to be able to get out there and there is going to be some type of investment whether it is your time or your money. Either way, it has got to make sense of that one but branding is so important especially today to break through the noise so you hit it right on the head.

Dustin: I agree. For all those still with us on the webinar, I want to thank you guys. Thank you everybody on Facebook who has joined us. This has been another Fluid Webinar series. If you want you can always comment to us on Twitter, direct messages on linked in or messages on Facebook. We will be back next month for our next webinar in the series. Thank you very much. Thank you Jesse.

Jesse: Thank you


Dustin Cederholm

Dustin has been a professional marketer for over 7 years. He specializes in marketing automation, conversion rate optimization, and enterprise lead generation. In his years as a marketer Dustin has helped large and small businesses successfully execute marketing campaigns leading to millions of dollars in new revenue.

Phil Case

Phil Case is the managing partner at Fluid Advertising, a Utah-based growth acceleration agency of 35 employees. Over the past 5 years he has led Fluid to over 300% growth and has built out robust digital and development teams. He has helped hundreds of companies accelerate their sales and revenue growth. Phil is a passionate technologist and marketing professional who is able to quickly grasp cutting edge ideas and create solutions.