Learning to target accounts and make the target love it was how B2B News Network closed coverage of the FlipMyFunnel Roadshow. The session in San Francisco, Feb. 25, was presented by Eric Spett, CEO of Terminus, account-based marketing provider and organizer of the conference, and Tyler Lessard, CMO of Vidyard, a personalized video marketing vendor. The thrust of their presentation was that if less than 1 percent of sales leads turn into revenue, then customer intent must be measured by something other than demand generation.
Vidyard, the self-described favorite customer of Terminus, exists in a perpetual state of demand generation mode, according to Lessard. Its marketing is driven 100 percent by the sales prospect pipeline, practicing “smarketing,” a portmanteau delineating a close collaboration between sales and marketing.
At least, this was the situation up until 2012. Concurrently, Vidyard focused on lead building. However, only 10 percent of those leads came from anyone who even had a remote interest in buying. Or as Lessard says, marketing qualified leads (MQLs) existed as the focus. Even with that focus, sales only accepted 40 percent of MQLs as SALs (sales accepted leads). The No. 1 problem: the companies associated with the MQLs weren’t in its target market.
So what accounts does sales want to target?
Seeing that sales felt the No. 1 reason that it did not accept MQLs as SALs was that they remained outside its target market, Lessard had to ask, “So what types of accounts do you want to target, sales?”
In typical fashion, sales provided the top 200 accounts into which it wished to get. “Great!” Lessard thought, “let’s go do some customer acquisition!”
A number of tactics occurred to Lessard in order to solidify Vidyard’s customer orientation with these target accounts:
- Create blog posts about potential customers in order to get their attention—parenthetical reference: flattery goes a long way!
- Ad retargeting
- Physical postcard direct mail (i.e., snail mail) for in-person customer seminar orientation
As a result of the aforementioned tactics, Lessard related a number of takeaways:
- Blog posts work
- Sales seminars did not work—too salesy and perceived as overly aggressive
- Targeted account info did not match customer profile—bad input from sales
- Overall approach not scalable
New ABM scenario
Learning from its less-than-totally-successful foray into targeted account marketing based on sales input, Vidyard regrouped and reoriented itself to go after those accounts that already had a propensity to buy. To begin this new ABM philosophy, Lessard says that they compared the marketing and sales input versus the actual customer data.
Thus, they began the new phase of ABM by taking a creative approach, leveraging CRM and partner information to see who might be most likely to buy.
In order to focus on buying propensity, B2B marketers must think at the account level as to which customer activities indicate buying intent, says Lessard. A strong indicator for buying intent exists in the number of customer views of a company’s B2B videos on YouTube within the last 30 days. In addition to YouTube views, Vidyard took all other customer account attributes from Salesforce, Hoovers and social sources to create a combined company score (i.e., ABM score) within the Terminus application.
Reset the attack plan
To reset the attack plan for its ABM strategy, Vidyard decided to make the customer experience the central point of attention. “If we see good customer engagement that will feed into lead nurturing,” Lessard says.
For those customers who were no longer active account leads, Vidyard identifies them for nurturing in what it calls the Grateful Dead Opps Revival campaign, which resulted in 35 opportunities influenced due to this activity.
Overall, Vidyard found that ABM exists as an ongoing discipline and strategy not as a product or role, B2B companies must leverage marketing technology to identify accounts with high propensity to buy, ABM should be used for customer engagement not sales programs and CRM data needs to be leveraged creatively in campaigns.
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