Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is all the rage in the B2B sales and marketing world … and it’s evolving into something more: Account-Based Everything (ABE) aligns sales and marketing teams with multi-touch campaigns on target accounts.
We did an experiment to see just how effective this person-first approach was, using the launch of a new product – an HR dataset – to a market that doesn’t have much experience with our offering – marketing and sales intelligence.
We created a video series in which we “broke down the fourth wall” and documented our ABE efforts – not knowing exactly how it would end.
Watch as DiscoverOrg’s sales, marketing, and customer success teams step through the planning and execution of a true account-based everything strategy.
Watch the whole 5-part video series here, including EPISODE 1: Moving Beyond Account-Based Marketing, and EPISODE 2: Identifying Target Accounts and Contacts. Here we discuss what Account-Based Marketing is, and how we’ll take the next step to Account-Based Everything (ABE) by aligning marketing and sales plays.
New to ABM? The pilot episode of INSIDE LOOK is a great introduction to Account-Based Marketing and Account-Based Everything.
Episode 3: Executing an Account-Based Strategy
In episode 3 of INSIDE LOOK, key players from the sales and marketing teams – share their strategy and key takeaways following a series of multi-channel, cross-functional plays for our HR dataset. (See a step-by-step summary below.)
Key players from our sales and marketing teams jointly (yes, jointly) identified the best 50 good-fit companies that were ideal prospects for our new HR data set.
We decided that ideal companies shouldn’t be too big – between 100 and 500 employees – and preferably sell technology products like an applicant tracking system.
We set aside a randomized subset to use as a control group so that we could really measure the impact of taking an Account-Based Everything approach. For the control group, we only executed our typical cold outbound email and call programs.
On the Sales side of the house:
- For our experimental group, we performed account-based everything plays. We started by developing personas forthe Heads of Sales, Head of Marketing, Business Development, Sales Development, Demand Generation, Sales Ops, andInside Sales – since our outreach is persona-based for ABE. (Download our free Persona Worksheet)
- We put each of those buying personas into a personalized drip sequence of about 8 – 10 emails per sequence per role.
- We based call cadence on engagement in our marketing automation tool. If we saw multiple opens on an email, we knew that that person is really interested – and they deserve more calls than someone who hadn’t opened emails.
- We decided where to start based on job title. The higher up in the org chart someone is, the closer they are to a decision maker. A head of sales is a better place to start than an SDR, so they’ll get more calls.
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One thing we found to be really effective was to send out Scoop alerts from the DiscoverOrg platform. A Scoop alert just notifies our clients about projects at other companies that fall into their wheelhouse.
For example, if company XYZ has expressed interest in investing in a new ATS tool, the SDRs would send that Scoop to prospect who sells ATS tools – along with the decision makers’ place in that org chart.
The Scoop also includes a direct-dial phone number and verified email address, so it’s a piece of data they could take immediate action with.
Prospects really respond to that!
On the Marketing side of the house:
- Before the email and calls started on the sales side, we began building brand awareness with highly targeted and personalized ads aimed at top accounts.
- We sent personalized direct mail pieces to accounts hat had shown a decent level of engagement, with the goal of propelling them to a demo at a faster velocity.
- About a month into these initiatives, we shifted our focus away from general awareness about DiscoverOrg, and focused on our upcoming HR Tech panel event.
- We chose HR tech after research on our target accounts revealed that most of them are HR technology providers. We wanted to capitalize on the opportunity to get in front of so many of our target accounts in one place, so we created the event and generated as much buzz as possible around it.
- The event was a dinner and a panel discussion with enterprise execs in HR roles. Our four panelists answered loosely guided questions, moderated by our CEO, Henry Shuck, about how they preferred to be sold to, and what prompted them to respond. We ended with a Q&A to give our attendees the opportunity to interact directly with the panelists. Our Director of Sales Development spent the evening networking with attendants.
- The feedback from the event was overwhelmingly positive: 86% of those respondents said that they were satisfied and would attend another event hosted by DiscoverOrg. And 50% responded by saying that they would like direct follow up!
That feedback reaffirmed the notion that Account-Based Everything works.
… but we needed the data to prove it.
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Episode 4: Measuring Results for Account-Based Campaigns
In Episode 4, we track impact of ABE on pipeline generation, revenue generation, and ASP between the control group and the group of accounts seeing the full ABE impact.
We wanted an objective measure of results.
How did we do?
Measure 1: Engagement
We saw almost identical cursory, initial engagement with both groups: almost 100%. (We like to think that’s because we have the most accurate sale and marketing data out there.)
Measure 2: Demos / Meetings set
- Account-Based Everything group: 55% of target accounts agreed to a demo
- Control group: 33% of control group accounts agreed to a demo
Using the same data and fit criteria – with an ABM approach – we saw 40% more meetings set in our ABE target group – even though both groups engaged at the same rate.
Measure 3: Opportunities Created
- Account-Based Everything group: 100% of demos turned into an opportunity
- Control group: 30% of demos turned into an opportunity
With the account-based approach, every single demo resulted in a sales opportunity – over 3x higher than a traditional sales approach.
Want to see results like these? Talk to us!
Measure 4: Revenue and ASP
The annual contract value (ACV) for the target group is 2.5 times greater than the ACV of the control group.
We expect that the sales velocity will have a shorter sales cycle as well. (As of this writing, the sales cycles are not yet complete for all open opportunities.)
A Summary of Our Inside Look Experience
So, what’s the moral of this story?
Quite frankly, we weren’t sure how breaking down the fourth wall and documenting our own ABE efforts would play out. At DiscoverOrg, we have a very large target market and have built an incredible lead gen and prospecting engine … so the idea of putting this much focus on only 50 accounts was daunting, to say the least.
But the results proved it out.
We had spent 6 months marketing and selling a product without the ABE approach, and had seen nowhere near the momentum we did when we switched the strategy.
Turning the cameras on ourselves also forced a good deal of soul-searching, and it highlighted where we could make dramatic improvements in our overall sales-marketing alignment.
At the end of this experiment, we all left committed to the idea that when you’re willing to invest in a multifaceted, multi-touch account-based everything approach (and the high-quality data that makes it possible), brand awareness will be higher, conversion rates will be higher, and revenue will be higher.
Isn’t that what we are all after?