Account-based marketing was an obvious area of focus for those attending the 2018 B2B Marketing Exchange conference (B2BMX) this week, and a case study from Windstream and Quarry offered a glimpse at how best practices in the use of technology and creativity are shaping up.
Executives from Windstream, a Little Rock, Ark.-based provider of networking and communications services, presented the results of their ABM project in a session with Quarry, a B2B agency with offices in both the U.S. and Canada, on Wednesday. Using a combination of tools that included DiscoverOrg, Mintigo and Bombora, among others, what started as an ABM pilot in 2016 is now running in every quarter in every Windstream market.
According to Greg Griffiths, Windstream’s vice-president of marketing, ABM was seen as a potential way to boost its ability to land meetings with prospects in a more direct and targeted way.
“The money we had spent in the past on broadcast wasn’t giving us the ROI we needed,” he told B2B News Network by phone in Scottsdale, Ariz., shortly after his B2BMX session wrapped up. “The senior sales leadership were questioning whether marketing was effective at all. The hardest part of getting into these targets. It was really obvious to us that we needed to try a different approach.”
Windstream used DiscoverOrg and Mintigo to narrow down and prioritize the target accounts it sourced through traditional criteria. It then applied a series of behavior, intention and trigger-based filters to come up with a final list of 85 prospects.
Next, Quarry’s creative team developed a campaign that spoke directly to the concerns of many senior IT professionals to reposition themselves as strategic advisors. It looked at the potential fallout from having gaps in its connectivity and network infrastructure, which was illustrated by a series of phrases, like “productivity” and “business continuity,” where the letters “IT” were removed.
“As is always the case, we walked through many different options. This was the right one for lots of great reasons,” said Meredith Fuller, Quarry’s managing director of buyer engagement. “It was scalable too — there are so many ways to make it verticalized.”
Some of the ways Windstream delivered the message, for instance, included a personalized video, an e-mail message, a personalized landing page, and even the remote control to an Amazon Echo as an inventive to take the meeting.
So far, Windstream has already seen 20 to 35 per cent of sales meetings booked as a result of the ABM campaign. Griffiths said the company has built upon the early success with an initiative called “MyCampaign,” whereby its sales team can use an automated process to launch it locally through different kinds of messages. This has done much to bring the two sides of the organization closer together, he added.
“When I put up the slide that showed the relationship between sales and marketing was respectful but different, the response in the room made me feel that that was really the norm,” he said. “In truth, in private discussions with sales, it was worse than that. It was, ‘What leads?’”
Fuller said adopting ABM is one of the leading reasons that Quarry’s newest clients have come to the firm.
“They accept the theory, they’ve read the white papers,” she said. “They’re really looking to us to help thread this together from strategy to execution.”
B2BMX wrapped up Wednesday.