Account-based marketing has been around for over 2 decades — but ABM hasn’t always been humanized.
Decision makers want to buy from humans, not companies.
Reachdesk is a platform that enables companies to easily reach prospects and customers using 1-1 personalised Direct Mail.
People buy from people. They don’t actually want to buy from your company.
Alex Olley – Co-founder and Head of Revenue & Marketing at Reachdesk
How to do ABM all wrong
When Alex started ABM a few years ago, he tried the traditional methods:
- Spend money on ads
- Email everyone
- Focus on MQLs & booking meetings
- Completely fail to drive revenue
“We were basically doing a lot of it wrong,” Alex said.
At first, he wasn’t concerned at all with humanizing ABM. Oops.
“Humanizing the ABM approach is based on one really fundamental principle,” Alex said. “People buy from people. They don’t actually want to buy from your company.”
See, people want a relationship with a person. This is simply what buyers expect right now.
70 to 75% of B2B buyers are Millennials now, and they want a frictionless buying experience. (Alex includes himself in this group.)
“We don’t want to buy from an ad or an email, we want to talk to a human,” he explained.
When the B2B space shows the immediacy and coherence that we expect from B2C brands, then they’ll be as personalized and contextualized as Millennial buyers want.
“For me, it’s about putting the right people within your ABM program. Make it human because that’s what people expect,” Alex said.
How to humanize ABM
Alex mentioned several actionable ways to pivot from the traditional and ineffectual method of ABM to the one that speaks the humanized language of Millennials.
If you can put humans, particularly SDRs, within your company’s marketing program, you can focus on revenue.
Alexy Olley – Co-founder and Head of Revenue & Marketing at Reachdesk
Step #1 — Rethink the role of SDRs
The role of SDRs is massively underestimated in traditional ABM campaigns.
All the attention that is usually placed on MQLs needs to shift to the SDR instead.
“If you can put humans, particularly SDRs, within your company’s marketing program, you can focus on the revenue number a lot more,” Alex said.
We all dream of aligning sales and marketing. Well, the SDR is actually the link between them.
“It’s the bit where you can have marketing handoff and sales linked together and do it in a human way that is part of your account-based program,” Alex said.
Step #2 — Focus on data
This ABM marketing and sales alignment starts with data.
Alex calls it the “single customer view.” It’s a list within a customer data platform or software that shows you engagement scores.
Collecting real-time data is key to know when to activate the human part of the ABM process.
- Website activity
- Intent data
- Your named account list
- Your ICP
- Ad & email engagement
“You can build a scoring model that allows you to know when an individual is going to be engaging with that account,” Alex said.
Marketing takes the main role until a certain level of engagement is reached, and then it’s the SDR’s turn to take action.
Step #3 — Incentivize realistically
How should SDRs be compensated under the humanized ABM model?
“For an account based SDR, you’d still need to book meetings with the right people, but you have a scoring system,” Alex explained.
It’s a 2-tier system.
Tier 1 has, say, 25 accounts. If you book a meeting with a key decision maker, that’s worth 20 points. An advocate within the company would be worth slightly fewer points.
Tier 2 has more accounts that are worth somewhat less each. Meetings with any of the 8 to 14 people involved in the buying decision provide more points than other roles.
“In those Tier 1 accounts, the higher you get up from the senior decision makers, you can appoint more points to them and remunerate on that basis,” Alex said.
What this point system motivates is talking to the right people.
It also compensates SDRs when the deal closes, which encourages their attention to detail and following through.
This focus on quality just makes good sense.
What we aim for in ABM is advocacy.
Allex Olley – Co-founder and Head of Revenue & Marketing at Reachdesk
So… is ABM sales or marketing?
Even though ABM ends in an “M,” it has to be a whole-company approach.
“Larger organizations are struggling to actually make that shift because to actually make account based marketing programs work you need to get buy-in throughout the whole organization,” Alex said.
This is where newer, agile B2B tech companies really shine. “The buy-in is a bit easier to get hold of, because you can do a pilot project and see quick wins quite easily and then invest more into it,” Alex said.
The key here is the cross-functional team working together, not the fact of booking a meeting.
How do we get more out of that account than a signed contract?
“What we aim for in ABM is advocacy,” Alex said. “Ultimately, advocacy leads to better renewal rates, quicker velocity, expansion, and upsells.”
Forget about the initial close and start thinking longer term. That’s the true power of ABM.