How to turn your ABM Strategy into a success?

Understanding ABM – Account Based Marketing – is one thing, succeeding with it is another one. I wanted to share with you a few guidelines on how to turn your ABM strategy into effective dollars.

Work closely with sales

This is extremely important. You need to develop this initiative together with sales leaders because your success will depend on the good alignment between marketing and sales.

Identify target accounts

Identify with them the list of key accounts and determine specific goals for each of them along with tactics to achieve those goals. Be clear on responsibilities and define who is responsible for what and how you will measure the impact of combined efforts.

Prepare your team

Make sure your team is properly trained on the methodology and knows how to actionate it. ABM is in many ways different than classic marketing and you need to make sure your team understands the goals and challenges and is ready and able to execute efficiently.

Define your ABM activity calendar

ABM is powerful but leading associated activities takes a lot of resources on the marketing side. You need to prepare targeted messaging, supporting assets and build specific Web pages along with dedicated tracking and reporting. Pick up a few strategic key accounts – where you have the largest potential for additional business – and schedule relevant activities in a calendar shared with your sales peer.

Research everyone on the buying committee

Work with sales to understand their key account planning and identify the right people who influence and participate to the buying decision.

Regularly check alignment with sales

Before launching any ABM activity, make sure the goals are still valid and the needs from the sales team haven’t evolved.

Create content to target accounts

Develop compelling, engaging content that speaks to each person on the buying committee and the larger strategic business initiative they share.

Equip your sales team to engage accounts

Hand over to sales all insights, information and guidance about each account, including which content assets to use when. You can also train them on content engagement tools such as Highspot to better track efficiency of those assets in the targeted accounts.

Measure the impact of your account-based marketing

Your reporting dashboards should have been set up upfront, before starting the initiative. A common mistake is to think it won’t take much time to build and can wait until the ABM activity is launched. Discuss the performance with sales and compare the effectiveness across the different target accounts and across the different activities. Success is above all a matter of measuring, correcting and iterating.

Why is your Youtube channel so important?

In 2017, I’m still very surprised to see so many companies with either no or a poor Youtube channel and that’s why I decided to write a few words about the importance of considering your Youtube channel carefully in your marketing mix.

Videos have become the new way to consume Web content. To get convinced of this, you can search for statistics on the Web – there are plenty of them – but you can also introspect yourself and analyze your own behavior: when you search for information, look at when you use Google and when you use Youtube … I would assume that like me, you prefer watching a short 2′ – 3′ video rather than reading a long article.

Moreover, when we look at the level of engagement, the engagement is much higher with a video: according to recent research, while 80% of the web users watch a video, only 20% read a text.

In terms of content type, Forrester predicts that 90% of data worldwide will be video in 2019 and Google and Facebook have anticipated that by ranking up video results in their search engine results.

So, let’s introspect myself and list some of the key topics that I prefer search on Youtube rather than Google:

  • Entertainment: game tutorials for kids, humor, cartoons …
  • Retail: product presentation, review and testing …
  • Culture:  history, geography, economics, media and politics …
  • Home: handy work, fixing things at home …
  • Arts:  learning how to play music, watching amazing musician performance …
  • B2B: company presentation, offering presentation, product demo, expert talks, event coverage.

And you, do you think your activity can still afford not being visible on Youtube?

Ideas to scale your sales enablement activities

As product marketer, part of your job is to develop sales enablement tactics and activities.

The problem is that your time is limited and your worldwide role makes it difficult to address each region separately. Moreover, in the digital word, organizing face-to-face training sessions are no longer the most efficient way because:

  • The sales force is mostly distributed across the different countries, which makes it difficult and expensive to organize global face-to-face group meetings.
  • Sales reps have their own business agenda and this is always difficult to get them into the same room.
  • Their attention span is also limited, especially if this is about pushing new information requiring limited interaction.

So what tools are good for your sales enablement activities?

First, put in place a Sales Portal on your Intranet or internal social network. This point is crucial to me, as a good sales portal will have a tremendous impact on the quality and efficiency of your sales enablement. Make sure your sales portal is easily accessible from outside the company and via mobile – as sales reps are often on the move. Define activity tracking dashboards with KPIs such as number of views a day, user engagement, ratio of returning visitors, number of asset views and downloads ….

Then, implement a LMS – Learning Management System – with help from your marketing ops team. Once again, select a LMS  that is accessible from outside the company and via mobile. You will upload there a sales certification program for new hires, release update trainings, market and competition updates … My strategy is to upload there only long-life assets and prefer the sales portal for more ephemeral assets. The advantage of the LMS is that you are able to enroll sales teams and track course activity at the individual level, resulting  in some good reporting for sales Executives.

The last sales enablement tactic that scales well and that I love is your product blog. This blog can be internal but I prefer the public one. Why? Because we live in a connected world where communication is king and the role of Product marketer has evolved to a thought leader and evangelist role. My recommendation: write blog posts on your public product blog and share them with your sales teams for them to read and improve their skills. That’s actually what I’m doing on the ApiFriends blog.

And you, what’s your strategy to scale your sales enablement activities?