Klear ABM framework – ep 29

Are you looking to scale marketing at your company?

Let’s take a look at the current scenario first-

Growth marketing in B2B tech companies (with long sales cycles) usually follow this trajectory:

Phase 1: Sales is the only focus
Phase 2: Primary focus on sales + support from marketing
Phase 3: Sales + moderately mature marketing department
Phase 4: Launch of ABM
Phase 5: Sales and marketing is integrated into one revenue department

In companies stuck in the first 2 phases, the scope of marketing is limited to curating brochures, PDFs and other sales collateral.

Essentially, phase 1 to 5 represents the growth of marketing — phase one represents marketing in its nascent phase and phase 5 (the end goal) represents companies adopting a customer-centric approach to sales and marketing where they are aligned on goals and KPIs.

More than 50% of tech B2B companies lie in the first 2 phases and are far from reaching that goal.

But if you’re looking to scale, sales will only get you so far.

So how do you get to phase 5?

The ABM mindset

The ABM mindset – regarding the way we think it should be done – has 4 components:

Buyer/customer experience wins

Ever heard of anyone that bought a $40,000 software because of a random LI message that didn’t even start with hello?

Yeah, thought so.

Complicated sales cycles, pushy sales reps, overpromising and under delivering — all add to bad customer experience. In the long run, companies that are customer obsessed, win.

Don’t blast prospects with sales pitches, take time out to build a genuine connection. The key is to guide them through the purchase instead of pushing them.

Quality > Quantity

100 subpar leads over 40 worthwhile ones. Always.

Leads that don’t or won’t drive profits mean nothing. Focusing on numbers like that will only distract you from the real goal — revenue.

Marketing’s performance should be measured by the quality of leads (leads that actually convert, fit the ICP, MQL to SQL ratio) rather than the quantity of leads they bring in.

Allbound, full-funnel marketing

Marketing’s job usually ends with handing off the leads to sales. But what if marketing stayed involved throughout?

With allbound marketing, marketing gets to be a part of the entire process. Insights from BOFU are crucial for marketing to understand if the leads they’ve gathered are good.

Experimentation

Campaigns usually don’t work the first time around. When they do, it’s usually pure luck.

Start small and scale up, don’t burn out your resources too soon.

ABM 101 process overview:

Step 1: Goals, expectations setting

Choose metrics before you go all in with the strategy. Choose leading metrics primarily (LI posts per day, content published, number of connections made on LI/day) and add lagging metrics (SQLs, MQL to SQL ratio) later.

Step 2: Ideal customer profile (ICP) narrowing

Vague ICPs will make you believe that every single person/company on the planet is a part of your target audience. Make it too narrow and no one meets the criteria.

Find a reasonable spot and define the audience for your first growth experiment. It doesn’t have to be perfect and since it’s not set in stone, you can always go back and change it.

Step 3: Messaging

Your messaging should appeal to your target audience and should be laser focused. Don’t be afraid to be direct. Talking to your existing customers will tell you what you’re doing well and if you’re appealing to the right audience.

Step 4: Warm up campaign

Types of warm up campaigns –
1. Content co-creation

  • Research
  • Article
  • Podcast
  • Webinar/interview

2. Events – summits, webinars
3. Targeted advertising

Step 5: Activation

Reaching out and sending direct mail (letter) with small gifts to accounts that have responded positively can be a great way to build a stronger bond. Just make sure to not over-do it.

Hint: A personalized water bottle is a great gift, a vacuum cleaner with 4 different modes is just a weird one.

Step 6: Optimize and scale

Scale what works, ditch what doesn’t. From here on, it’s only a numbers game.

Ultimately, scaling up means finding ways to get to stage 5. The key is to adopt the AMB mindset and follow the ABM process. Your goals will evolve over time, your ICP may need modifications and the medium (platforms) will change too, but growth should be constant, and creating alignment between sales and marketing is the first step to it.

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