unlocking the secrets of successful abm and paid media

In this episode, Andy and James dive deep into the world of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) and paid media strategies + tactics that can make or break its success. Stressing the importance of data quality and collaboration across marketing, sales, and revenue, this episode touches on a range of topics, including: 1. Necessary shifts in mindset and approach, especially for marketers that have historically been lead-gen focused. 2. The critical role of personalization, barriers to its implementation, and the right (and wrong) times to deploy a personalized approach within your ABM paid media efforts. 3. The tech + resources to invest in for successful ABM paid media. SNEAK PEAK: it’s not the ABM platforms you hear about all the time. 4. Approaches + considerations for measuring success, engagement, and movement through the funnel. Throughout the discussion, they offer practical tips and actionable insights to help listeners get started with ABM or improve their existing ABM efforts. Whether you’re new to the concept or looking to improve your existing ABM efforts, this episode has something for everyone. So sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and join Andy and James for a deep dive into the world of ABM and paid media. Don’t be another marketer hyper-focused on fulfilling vanity metrics, in turn losing sight of your bottom line.

Podcast Transcript

From Dragon 360, this is Digital Banter, a podcast focused on modern marketing tactics and driving real business results. And now here are your host

what’s up everyone? Welcome back for another episode of the Digital Banter podcast, where we bitch and moan about everything that’s wrong with B2B marketing, , and vent until our, , we’re blue in the face. James, welcome back. Welcome back. We got some venting to do this week, I think, right? , when don’t we, so this is the first time that I feel like I’m, I’m, I want to ask you, how do you feel about the Super Bowl?

Now that, wow, now that your, , your draft picks are probably aligned at this point and trades are happening. You can talk about the jets here in a second, but I really want to know, are you over it? I, I was over it that night. I’m, I’m a Philadelphia fan. Remember this? I went [00:01:00] through 50 years of not winning anything 50.

So I’m, I’m well attuned to it, so I’m good. Speaking of 50 years not winning anything, you want to talk a little bit about the, , the New York Jets and the new GM we got? No. The team that you abandoned in favor of a bandwagon or. Oh, I mean, listen, I, yes. Did I, did I abandon them? Yes. , but now I’m a diehard Aaron Rodgers fan.

You know, the new gm. Until that falls through, hey, you know, at some point, at some point it’s pretty, you got a quarterback. It’s pretty impressive how you can be the GM of one team while still play for another, but also remember that this, he also owns another team, the. His own self ownership of the Bears

Oh yeah. I mean, if, , the Jets and I, I can’t even say the Eagles have won Super Bowl recently. That’s like, not even five years ago. Whoa, whoa. Hang. Philly’s been on fire though. You had, like, what? You had your Phillies run, you probably had a flyers run. [00:02:00] I don’t even, I don’t even follow hockey, but flyers.

Flyers are from like the, Oh yeah. Don’t give us that much credit. Way more success than New York. Yeah. Doesn’t take much. We used to have the Yankees to, to, to hold our own, but mm-hmm. , you took that away from us too. Yeah. Well, anyway, , anyway. , I guess we’re supposed to talk about ABM. Oh, that’s the topic.

Yeah. ABM. So we’ve been talking about a lot of, of buzzwords, right? It’s funny when we’re thinking about this topic and anybody who talks about b2b, it’s their most listened to podcast. Dave, I’ll give you your, your shout out there. , always talking about how whenever he talks about ABM, his listeners just go through the roof.

And I, I find it kind of funny because I don’t think that. ABM to me is a buzzword. , and I think that’s one of the things that we’re going to talk through [00:03:00] today. Obviously it, you know, is a lot more than a buzzword. , but it’s, , there’s definitely a lot of controversy around it, whether or not it’s a sales thing, a marketing thing, , demand gen thing.

Is it lead gen? , I mean, to get, I guess to get this started off, Andy, why don’t you tell us what ABM. Account based marketing. That’s what ABM is. That’s what stands for. Anyway, I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know if it’s a buzzword necessarily. Is it hyped? Eh, I don’t know. I mean, there’s plenty of metrics out there that support it saying, you know, you get higher ROI off of, , Off of ABM efforts than than others.

But at the same time, like, wouldn’t you expect that if you are a little bit more, , diplomatic and deterministic about who you’re going after, rather than casting a wide net, which is historically lead gen, demand, gen minded in, in strategy? I don’t know. I mean,

ABM is [00:04:00] certainly worthwhile as a strategic approach, but there’s a lot of moving parts here when it comes to the inputs and the outputs. So ABM, account based marketing, the input side of things, who are we actually going after? Who are the most primed buyers and prospective customers out there that we can get ourselves in front of? And how are we going to go about doing that? Everything from the creation of audiences, list buying, looking at our own internal CRMs to see what data we have available. All the way through to battle cards, battle cards, such as, Hey, these are what certain businesses of this type are looking for. And here’s how we stack up against the competitors. Or, in the same lens, here’s what we do better than these competitors and who we’re going after to steal their business.

So all of those are inputs and then outputs. How are we going to actually go to market with that? How are we actually going to engage with people? How personalized of content are we going to have? Do we have [00:05:00] the resources to actually go to market, both in creative and content, but also technologies? And what technologies are worth the investment and which aren’t?

Which are just money pits and I’m going to lay it out there when we get to it in this, in this topic, there’s a bunch of tech out there that I guarantee I could drive 10 X ROI from without you actually using it. Yeah, I, I mean, I’m, I’m right there with you. It’s, it’s, it’s, I feel like this one is going to turn into a little bit of event session because

A lot of people want to run ABM and do ABM, but I don’t think that they really understand what that means.

And this is where, you know, historically when I think of what ABM is… I feel like there was this moment that happened where the Chief Revenue Officer or whatever came up with this, okay, sales is complaining that marketing isn’t giving them what they need.

So they reached out to marketing, they were like, how can we get sales what [00:06:00] they need? And they were like, okay, well maybe if you were marketing to the accounts that sales was going after… you two would get along. And you would align on goals and all this stuff. And I feel like that’s what, you know, in a lot of organizations it feels like ABM is just something that’s done to make the sales team happy. Rather than, you know, a full-fledged strategy where everybody’s moving in the same direction. Actually has common goals. And is actually, you know, kind of working in sync with each other.

It’s just like in a lot of the ABM campaigns that I’ve been part of it, it feels like an add-on. And not like a core piece of the strategy.

Yeah, because it takes a lot of moving parts. It takes a huge investment and it changes the dynamic of your internal infrastructure and how you actually look at results.

It’s completely different if it’s actually ABM. And I think that’s the biggest thing.

There’s this concept of ABM that exists out there by many brands and businesses, and it’s not ABM. [00:07:00] It’s clearly just running lead gen or demand gen. Focus on specific lists of accounts or contacts within those accounts. That’s not actually ABM… ABM is a full fledged investment that requires time, dedication, and a full on tilt effort.

And that’s, I mean, that’s the big thing about today’s topic. There’s a lot of podcasts out there about ABM that are much more informed, much higher level, much more big picture looking than what we’re going to look at today. Because we just see it at a different vantage point. We see a different viewpoint, and we might be wrong, we might be right.

But we’re basing our conversation today off of what we see as a common thread among a lot of businesses that are saying they want to do ABM but they’re just pretending at the end of the day.

Yeah, and I think to to further that,

Our goal of today is to talk about ABM through an advertising lens.

Account-based marketing is, we know a [00:08:00] lot more than that. Advertising is just a small piece. And I think the part that we really want to get into today is some of, like you said, the misconceptions around what tech is actually needed. I mean you have the question of is ABM tech? Has 6sense and Demandbase and tools like that have basically coined themselves as ABM.

I’ve heard it before where somebody’s like, oh yeah, we want to start an ABM, like what tool do we need? Right? That’s the first question that they ask versus… where they actually should start is like, who are the accounts that we’re going after? How do we want to personalize our messaging to them?

And all of the other stuff that we’re going to get into.

, so, well, James, hang on. I bring you, I think I would want to circle back just real quickly to what you’re saying about Yeah, like sales versus marketing and this being born out of those disconnects. I mean, I think there’s a lot of other factors that come into play there, but if you just think about that as a baseline, MQs versus SQLs and just the sheer drop off you get, In an organization from those two stages when you go from one to the next, if that is that [00:09:00] drastic.

And historically we’ve seen plenty of instances where it is because you’re marketing up the wrong tree on the marketing side of things and selling up the wrong tree on the selling side of things. , you know, ABM is a natural progression out of that. If you look back 10, 15, 20 years. So there is an inherent conflict that this was born out of when it looks at plain and simple qualified leads as a metric of success.

Well, you’re not, so just to clarify, leads are not a metric of success for ABM, correct? Well, we’ll get into that in a second. I’m saying leads as a mattress of success for many organizations out there. Right. Gotcha. Gotcha. So I guess let’s dive right into.

ABM isn’t for everyone. Right? Who is it for?

It kind of depends on what you’re selling and who you’re selling to, to begin with. So I personally believe that there’s a component of ABM that can be [00:10:00] used in pretty much any B2B advertising strategy. It’s a matter of how you’re using it

within that strategy. Are you only focused on a thousand accounts that you’ve cultivated to sell to because they fit your ICP? Right. So, there’s one angle. The other angle is… I guarantee that in some way, shape or form, everyone out there is doing a form of ABM when it comes to nurturing. Because you have demand gen or lead gen efforts. You can see who’s visiting the site, interacting with your ads, and therefore you should be cultivating those into more unique audiences and therefore nurturing them in a more account-based model.

Either through email, through paid, through other efforts, maybe SDRs and BDRs reaching out to it. But I do think, you know, it does come back to how sophisticated and how many resources you have to actually pull it off. That’s tangible point [00:11:00] number one as far as who it’s for. Point number two is… yeah, is it probably for larger enterprise clients and corporations?

Possibly, but it comes back to what I was saying before, like what’s the definition of ABM and how are you using it?

Yeah, I mean, resources is probably more important than deal size, right? Because it, you could have your whole go-to market strategy built, built on a account based plan. , but again, you do need to have a certain deal size to support it.

But the reason that I like how you said, The, the team and resources is, you know, you need a sales team, you need a content team who’s able to tailor messaging towards those individual contacts. Like, this isn’t going to work for somebody who’s trying to sell something e-commerce or a small price point, because they don’t, they don’t have a sales team.

They don’t have, , the same level of resources within the sales organiz. To support ABM. So [00:12:00] I feel like the two go hand in hand, deal size and team size, but that structure is, is a vital part of it. So, hang on, I’m going to contradict you on that though, because let’s use the e-commerce aspect of things. So what I was saying before about ABM and how you use it, being a, a clear indicator of whether it’s right or not.

So let’s say you have e-commerce. Which we have plenty of e-commerce clients, so there’s an aspect to that of, okay, you’ve got somebody in the door. Maybe it’s subscription. Maybe it’s one-off or some level of repeat purchases over the course of time. You’ve built a relationship, right? Now, you deploy a new product, whether it’s a new product that you’ve built in-house, an acquisition. There’s an upsell opportunity.

Inherently there’s an ABM opportunity that when you’re going to market as far as upsell, cross-sell, and customer growth. So this is where it all comes back into… it all depends on how you’re using it as a clear variable of whether or not it makes sense for your business. Because at that point, price and ticket size and deal size kind of doesn’t matter as long as you’ve got [00:13:00] a good foundation to build off of from a resource perspective.

Yeah. , I mean I certainly think that that’s fair. , I, I, I still think price point has something to do with it though, because you have to be able to justify the resources that you’re putting into it in order to. Have that level of effort, right? Sure. And I think at the same time, like we define ABM as knowing the specific accounts that we’re going after is the most basic form of ab b m, just retargeting to a customer list then.

Yeah, you still know the accounts that you’re going after. Maybe it’s not as clear cut and dry of, Hey, this account drove X amount of impressions and they visited the site 50 million times. And guess what? We have a halo effect of a thousand impressions influencing this deal. Like maybe it’s not to that extent or degree, but it’s still ABM.

Yeah. And to an extent, there’s still that level of personal. that comes to that too. Exactly. Do you have, you know, [00:14:00] they’re, you know, they’re a customer. You know what they bought, probably based off of the CRM data, and you’re slicing and dicing audiences based off of that intelligence. It’s the, it’s the same way you would segment an email marketing list based on the same thing.

You got it. All right, so let’s j p to tech a little bit. , this is probably the most, I don’t know, I don’t want to say it’s controversial, I think a misunderstood piece of the entire ABM world. We mentioned tools like 6 cents, demand-based Terminus ad role. I mean, feels like everybody’s got their AB b m Tech.

So my question to you is, do you need these tools? And if I, I kind of know what your answer’s going to be. So I’m going to say, how, how do you, how do you do it without, I’m not going to read the notes that we wrote down for this because I don’t think they are safe for work. , , bitch and Mona are much more worthy of, of what I was have written.

, no,

I don’t think they’re worth the investment. So think about it. So AdRoll you mentioned as an [00:15:00] example there, it’s fairly self-service. I think it’s like a thousand dollars a month subscription fee for the platform itself. So add media spend on top of that… pretty low level investment. Now when you get into more enterprise tools, Terminus, 6sense, Demandbase, you’re upwards of… I want to say probably in the 25 to 40K range per month or per year subscription.

Okay, so that doesn’t include media spend. Now granted, you’re getting a little bit more than just an ad platform and a tech stack to build off of. You’re getting intent data, you’re getting behavioral data that it’s collecting that’s based off of IPs and what it’s collecting across the web. And obviously you’re getting some measurement protocols as far as influence, you know, engaged accounts, et cetera, et cetera.

But if you look at it from a pure media perspective, all those platforms are built off of the same channel. Banner ads. Banner ads do not sell. If you think banner ads are going to influence an account to actually take an action on what you are trying to sell… you are [00:16:00] very outdated at this point. I will not mince words on that front.

Which is why I would rather brands invest their money, that 25 to 40K on a multitude of tools that are going to get them much better results. And allow them to reach and engage their audiences in much more diverse and truly impactful mechanisms. Whether that’s paid social, maybe it’s audio and CTV. Maybe it’s just a different thing that exists out there.

YouTube great example there, right?

But those other tools, Versium, Clearbit, Metadata… so a mix of first party targeting tools beyond just the list that you can buy from ZoomInfo or some other industry publication. Or the first party data that you have in house. Really being able to reach and scale, but also make sure that the data is clean and refreshing with the latest updates, job hoppers, job seekers, things like that.

And on the flip side of [00:17:00] that, making sure that there’s a level of insight and measurement into who’s visiting the site. So Clearbit is a great example there. Whether it’s the free version, you’re, you’re going to pony up and pay for it all told. When you add all those together, you are probably going to be much less than the subscription fees you’re going to pay to terminate demand base or 6 cents.

It’s a better investment and it’s much, much more impactful because you’re using better data, you’re using refresh data, and you are engaging your buyers in much more entertaining ways and on channels and platforms and tactics that they are more likely to engage with. Yeah, I mean the, the data enrichment piece is probably one of the most valuable things like you.

Within a lot of those tools, you’re limited to display. They do have integrations with LinkedIn now, which sure, you can also recreate that exact same targeting in LinkedIn by layering company and job title and reach the right people. But what is difficult is reaching them on other channels. Facebook, [00:18:00] Instagram, connected tv, Reddit, Twitter, , I mean, pretty much anywhere.

You can upload a customer list and. You know, your sales team has their business email hopefully, because that’s what they want to contact them on, and that’s the list you’re usually going based off of. , the match rates on those lists within the platforms themselves are going to be horrible because nobody signs up for Facebook with their business email.

Like, yeah, there’s more to the technology than that now, but it is still a major barrier. You’re going to get a 20% match rate versus if you enrich that data, you’re going to get a 70% match rate, which. Significantly better. , and you can make a much larger impact. And then, so targeting definitely probably the most important piece.

And then from a measurement standpoint, like you say, you’re going to want the same thing. LinkedIn is a great tool because they tell you which companies are engaging with your ads. You can hand that list over to your sales team. But using like Clearbit lead feeder, lead forensics was one. They’ve probably been purchased by now.

They tell you what accounts are visiting your [00:19:00] website again, so you can hand that information to sales and they can make time. Outreach decisions. Yep. So I want to, I want to bring back two points that we made on previous podcasts. The first is related to the actual cost of media. So if you are using ABM tool such as those that we described, Remember the media is being bought in there and being passed through to the end channel, right?

Whether it’s a programmatic exchange, if it’s banner ads, whether it’s LinkedIn, if you’re hooking that up, I know Six Sense Connects to Facebook as an example. Remember, these platforms gotta make some extra dough. There’s markups involved in each of those instances, and I know for a fact that the markup is fairly transparent in six.

Terminus. I haven’t used it enough of a a while to know for a fact how transparent is. But remember, you’re paying extra dollars on top of your actual media costs because of the markups involved versus going directly into those native platforms using better data that’s going to be [00:20:00] more impactful and probably getting cheaper acquisition costs, both from a cpm, cpc and a cost per visit perspective.

The other angle I want to bring back in. Excuse me, is when we talk about measurement, thinking outside the box, looking at other tools, right, and not. Looking at a single source of truth because a single source of truth does not exist. Anybody that listened to our episode with Drew Smith from a triviata will know what we’re saying when we say no single source of truth exists.

People are looking at these ABM tools and their measurement setups. And insights and analytics as a single source of truth, when in reality that does not exist. They are always going to take credit where credit is trying to be given and do to themselves. That’s what they exist to do because they have a reason to do so.

Look, in my experience, , I’ve seen instances where supposedly an account closed based off of a hundred impressions and 6 [00:21:00] cents, I think was the tool at the time. Took credit for that. If you’re telling me that a million dollar deal closed based off of a hundred impressions, take my money today. Give me, gimme the fry from future alma gift, and take my money.

Just take it, steal and take my money. So you mean that you like don’t believe the lifted account metrics that are reported within these tools? I believe that there is certainly a lift in account engagement that exists, but I think there is more credit being taken than is what reality. Yeah. I mean, in the situations where I’ve reviewed the data, what’s the, the, the quote is always, if it’s too good to be true, it probably.

, and that’s how I feel about those lifted account n bers, especially knowing in these circ stances what the strategy was, what the targeting was, what the messaging was. , it’s definitely a suspect at best. Yeah. And you mentioned targeting before I kind of derailed it back into those two points. So

In the majority of these [00:22:00] tools, the targeting is very limited.

If you have a connection with LinkedIn, there’s some level of standards around seniority level and functions within the business. But natively speaking, when you compare the ABM tool against, let’s say LinkedIn, right, the native targeting is 10 times more powerful. It’s 10 times more specific. It’s 10 times more reliable.

Yeah, you can hit, you know, senior decision makers in the CXO role that are within the accounting and finance sections of X account that you’re targeting within Demandbase, Terminus, 6sense. Or you can go over to LinkedIn and say, no, I want to target this title. Or I want to upload this list of first party data that I just grabbed out of Metadata, Versium, or from my CRM, and I know who I’m actually going after.

Versus some unknown of individuals that fuzzy match these parameters that are within this account based marketing tool. [00:23:00] The other aspect of that is… people buy from people. So if we’re just going after decision makers, that CXO example, nine times out of ten, we’re going to fall on our face. As far as success is concerned because what CEO do you know that’s going to actually be doing the research, doing the legwork, and trying to really find a tool, whether it’s a SaaS product or professional service, that’s going to solve some productivity issue.

No, they’re going to delegate that. They’re going to task it out. And that’s the same to be said for a CMO, a CTO, CIO, CRO. Keep throwing C and any other letter in there, and it’s all delegated. So when we look at who we should be targeting from an ABM perspective, we have to be looking at the entire buying committee and understanding who those decision makers are certainly.

But who are the influencers, the champions, the gatekeepers that all are involved in that buying process from discovery and research through to approval and signing the check.

So you said [00:24:00] that the CEOs are, , the, the decision makers are going to task out the research, right? I actually think it works the exact opposite.

I don’t think. The, the senior leadership decision maker, whoever doesn’t know they have a problem until it’s actually brought to them. So I dunno, say you’re looking for a project management solution or a new AI tool that’s going to make your processes so much easier. The leadership that’s usually not going to come from leadership and be like, Hey, here, , influencers go make, go figure out what the best tool is and present it to me.

Usually they’re going to present the decision maker with a problem and a possible solution, and they’re either going to approve it or not. I mean, in most of these scenarios, , the budget approver. , and I think like this is a huge common misconception that a lot of B2B marketers ha have. I, I mean, there’s a lot of agencies out there who [00:25:00] pitch that like, you know, we should only be targeting the decision makers because the, like, why would you target anybody else?

Like, that’s the person’s ear that you want to get in. I, I think that that’s honestly completely false because if you. champions and influencers internally, they’re the ones who are going to push that decision forward. , you know, you may want to get in front of the decision maker to help move that decision along, but ultimately that decision’s ma, is actually made by somebody else and somebody else is, and the decision makers are signing.

The contract. That’s a very fair point, and I think you bring up a good point there of being, getting in front of those decision makers with the right messaging and the right content, , to help expedite that process rather than derail it of the decision maker going back and saying, well, you know, who do they work for?

, you know, gimme some references, gimme some case studies. When in reality if you can [00:26:00] proactively address that, The influencer and the champion is coming to the decision maker and saying, Hey, we have this problem. I found these solutions. I think this one is best. And the decision maker saying, you know what?

I actually just heard about those guys. I, I kind of read through some stuff that they were putting out there. And you’re right. Like, how do we move forward? That’s a lot better than the back and forth, all of the, the po, the dog and pony show of trying to figure out what’s best and what’s not, and questioning the person that’s coming to you with a.

And that’s, that’s where brand awareness comes into play too, right? If I was trying to get a CRM and I’m fighting some executive to get Salesforce in there versus some new startup, like I guarantee if I was to throw both of them at the same time, they’re going to be like, oh yeah, I’ve heard of Salesforce.

Like, and it just helps things move a lot faster, which goes right back to what we were saying from a tactical perspective. When we look at paid media, do banner ads really drive awareness? No, they do not. How do you drive awareness in a [00:27:00] 350 by two 50 square or leaderboard, or a banner at whatever, right?

You have to be diverse in how you’re going to market with your messaging, which is why you don’t want to go through those other platforms. You have to be engaging people in different ways. Yeah, I mean, I would start with a Super Bowl ad every time. Okay, well, I, I said it was 30 to 40 K a year, and now you’re growing, you’re throwing 7 million out in 30 seconds.

Yeah, it’s a great, , it’s a great brand awareness strategy. Super Bowl. I, I know you reached out to Jasper the other day, so you know, if you want to pitch ’em on a 7 million Super Bowl ad by all, I didn’t really, I didn’t really reach out to Jasper. I really just wanted to know. I, I, it’s, I don’t want to go off on too much of a tangent here, but like, I have this belief that, Every AI tool is taking off right now because of chat G P T.

Anyways, we don’t need to get into that. Let’s feel like that’s a whole other conversation. Riding the, riding the coattails of others. Perhaps [00:28:00] true. I mean, it’s like, honestly, I’m curious. Okay, so Jasper’s been around for quite a bit of time. Chat, G B T blew up in December. I really just want to know how much more Jasper has grown since the launch of chat, G P T.

In the last three months, like I can only imagine that their company is 10 x in size because everybody only started researching these tools because chat GBT was so cool. Anyways. Hey, I digress. , so let’s talk about content and personalization. So we talked about essentially who we’re targeting influencers, decision makers.

The importance of that. I think the next core piece of any ABM campaign,

ABM only works with a certain level of personalization. What are your thoughts on that? Where do you start? Unless you have a 30 person content team that’s sitting down next to your buyer and reading their every word and thoughts, how are you going to personalize content to the extent possible of really [00:29:00] making an impact?

Don’t get me wrong, you can personalize content. But I think you need to look at it through the lens of somewhat of an 80 20 rule, right? So how can you personalize 80% of your content towards 20% of your target accounts. The 20% that present the best opportunities. And when I say opportunities, I’m saying like solidly fit within your ICP have full tilt mechanisms driving towards engaging and trying to move them through the funnel down to a pipeline stage.

And when I say full tilt, I’m saying… email, paid, SDRs reaching out. You know, you’re having those individuals on your podcast or some other thought leadership endeavor that you’re putting out there. You are full on into trying to make them a customer. If you personalize 80% of your content towards 20% of that… you’re probably a little bit more likely to be successful than saying, oh, okay, I want to personalize my content for half of [00:30:00] my list.

And your list consists of 500 or a thousand accounts. It’s not possible. It’s just physically not possible. And to that end, I think on the flip side of that, how do you create a robust portfolio of content that can somewhat be interchanged and used across all of those accounts? What is that foundational content that is valuable, educational, and sows the seed of brand that can ultimately flip somebody into moving through those stages of awareness and engagement on the ABM spectrum.

So I think you said a targeting thing that was actually really important that’s often overlooked when you said 80 20, right?

ABM is not targeting all of your target accounts like you are… in order for ABM to be successful, you have to split up your list and place bets, right? Like it’s okay [00:31:00] to set aside

a part of your list and say like, Hey, we’re not, you know, we are not going to touch that. We don’t believe that this list of accounts is ready for our level of personal, like the personalization that we’re about… effort that we’re about to put into it. And take your bets on the 20%. Now where I think that

you can add additional layers. Kind of goes back to what I was talking about before with said like an email strategy. You can take those contents, con those contacts and segment them based on commonalities, right? So you target different industries. You have landing pages that speak to different industries, you know, common pain points for certain levels of seniority, right?

You’re, you’re definitely going to want to have at. Industry level, influencer, decision maker, content, that level of personalization. Because I think one of the things that I always get frustrated with, with BM campaigns is this idea of like air [00:32:00] cover branding. , cause it’s like that, that defeats to me, in my opinion, that defeats the purpose and that really is.

That comes from, Hey, we’re trying to make the salespeople happy, so we’re just going to serve these people ads. And they’re just like, your logo, tagline, whatever. And, and I’ve seen that happen so often with no level of personalization. So, you know, your 80 20 rule I think is definitely makes a lot of sense for.

Where you should focus your level of personalization on 20% of the accounts. But I think that other 80% should have, like if you’re including them in your ABM strategy, should have industry influencer decision maker. Bare minim . Yeah, but you bring up a good point too. So

You’re not going to be targeting your entire account list, but the question is how are those segmented lists being defined and who’s defining them?

If it’s data that you own from your CRM, like how are you [00:33:00] defining what accounts you’re going after versus those that you’re not? Those that have been inactive and dead for five years? Those that have shown some level of interest, and therefore brand awareness, which comes back to your point… why am we going to waste dollars on brand awareness if they’re already aware of us?

And then the other thing that we see a lot of is, you know, that level of tier one accounts versus tier two, and tier three. Okay. So who the hell’s defining what a tier one account is versus tier two and tier three? High chances it’s sales. And it’s sales because, oh, these are big accounts that I got connections at and I want to go after.

Okay. But on the flip side of that, are they even targetable and reachable? Are they active in any capacity out there? Or are you only able to connect with them over the phone. So how are you going to do an ABM effort that supports your sales efforts if they’re not actually reachable in any other means?

And then on the same token of that is… how well do they actually fit your ICP?

How many tier one account lists have we seen James, where somebody’s saying, oh yeah, [00:34:00] we’re going after ICM, Adobe, you know, Coke Cola, Nikes Coke, Pepsi. Okay, you’re going to waste your time and money trying to go into those guys when I guarantee you can create a, a much softer landing of revenue that exists out there if you just went a little bit more mid-market.

Like all of those intelligence factors need to be brought into the equation when we are segmenting lists, not just being defined by, yeah, you know what? I’m going to cherry pick out these 10 because these. Yeah, I mean the, the way this should work is

Marketing should set marketing revenue, whatever you want to call ’em these days, should set the criteria that is then given to sales.

But sales should be the ones coming up with that list, and they should be building that list based off of a set criteria. Like, you know, these are our ideal customer profiles. This is their industry, like… this is how we want the list segmented. You pick the accounts that fit these segments.

You can even add some level of prioritization to it. [00:35:00] But I mean, in theory, that should come from them because they know where they’re at in the sales process. They know how many touchpoints they’ve had already. They may know that when their contracts are up. A lot of like these larger deals have year long contracts, and if they’ve been in contact with somebody for a long time, they might know that, oh, this person’s contract is coming up in three months.

Like they can prioritize that kind of stuff. But marketing should be setting that criteria so that they’re giving them the personalized messaging that they need. All basic tenants and principles of demand gen, and also lead gen. Which is why I led this conversation off saying like, ABM lives within, inside of those tactics in many cases.

And people are, you know, they have these misconceptions of what ABM is in isolation, but also what it is within the same concepts that they’re already running.

, so it’s a, it’s a, it’s a big deal in that regard. Yeah, for sure. All right. So. The next piece I kind of want to j p into, so I, I feel like we talked about this a little bit, but [00:36:00] there’s this philosophy in AB b m and I feel like if, if anybody Googles AB b m strategy, they’re going to see this, right?

They’re going to see one to many, one to few, and one-to-one. . , it’s kind of like the basic framework where one to many is that brand cover thing that I hate. One to few is the level of segmentation that we were hitting on before, but then there’s that one-to-one piece. , I guess let’s start with that one because I feel like we haven’t talked about it.

Andy, do you feel like the one-to-one strategy is something that’s effective? Effective? Let’s just. Put it out there. Is it even able to get off the ground? Like that’s the biggest thing. B2B has small audiences, but a one-to-one mechanism. Like do you already have the decision maker, the influencers and the entire buying committee mapped out.

If so, you have an audience of [00:37:00] what average buying committee is every, anywhere from five to 10 people. You’re going to, you’re going to go out to market against five to 10 people. This is why, like one-to-one and very small, ABM initiatives don’t work in paid media. That’s why you have to have a more well-rounded.

Opportunity and strategy that is inclusive of not just email because you know, when was the last time you actually paid attention to a, , an outbound sales email that hits your inbox. But how do you collectively social sell, engage these individuals? Again, through those thought leadership, , practices and things like that.

Like one to one can be effective, but getting. Out the door and and into market through the lens of one or two channels is impossible. You have to move up market. You have to move up, up in audience to, to one, to few and one to many. And go back to those same principles that you were just talking about, James.

Like how do you split your list? How do you bucket them by, you know, decision makers, influencers and other kind of buying committee. But on top [00:38:00] of that industry’s size of business, you know, customers versus net new customers or, or, or, you know, legacy customers that you’re trying to upsell. All of those parameters come into play.

And, you know, when we look at audience sizes, at the end of the day, you kind of, you have to look at how you can bucket those together to get true reach that deliver scalable opportunities. Yeah, that’s, and again, our, our lens is through kind of the advertising piece of this. I, I don’t. one-to-one being effective or really you being able to do it through advertising.

, now if we’re talking like field marketing events, email, stuff like that, webinar, like, you know, you can create a personalized workshop for somebody and kind of like if it’s that big of a deal and you want to put that much effort into it, yeah, that technically would fall under ABM. But I think the advertising.

The technology really just doesn’t allow you to do that. I mean, I found myself in situations where, [00:39:00] where, and I feel like every person in advertising who runs ABM has probably found themselves in a similar situation where the list isn’t meeting the minim requirements, and then you’re. Throwing additional audiences in the list to hope that you reach that minim .

So now, I don’t know, I’ll say there’s five people you want to target and you need a list of 300. You’re like, okay, let me hit every tangential influencer of this individual. And you’re just, I at that point, I just think you’re wasting money because so much of your spend is not going towards what you want it to where.

you’re just like, one, one. Take a phone call, send an email, just get an event scheduled to them. I mean, if it’s that important, go knock on their door. like, , sell that Hoover. Sell that Hoover to them. I mean, it’s, I’m, I’m surprised that there are more salespeople who don’t go door to door. Maybe it’s like creepy and, I mean, not accepted anymore, but I mean, we’re not buying dictionaries or , encyclopedia Britannic anymore, but Sure.

Yeah. Hey, [00:40:00] or Conco. Cutco. You sold Cutco, didn’t you? ? I did, I did. That wasn’t door to door though. That was, , networking, right? You know, start starting. You, you were, you were ab Ming it, right? ab Ming. It starting with your family and then asking your family for their friends and then asking their friends for their friends.

So, pyramid scheme, nevermind. Yeah, I actually got a check for like $85 in the mail because, , they didn’t pay me for my training. It’s kind of funny. Apparently I don’t get how that stuff works, if I’m being honest. , all right, so let’s talk about the, I think pretty much the last piece here, measurement.

, I think

measurement’s a tough one with ABM. So I mean, we’ll, we’ll start with the controversial point. Like we’re not measuring leads. You already have their contact information. If you want somebody’s email address, it costs you 25 cents through a data. Tool, you could just pay 25 cents for it. [00:41:00] So why would you pay advertising a hundred dollars a lead to reach somebody who already have their contact information?

I don’t know. This is a confusing thing that comes up to me all the time, like, why would we need to run lead gen for people who we already know who they are? So how do you measure ABM? But James, how do we know if they’re reading our. , those tools that we mentioned before, right? Or just LinkedIn or maybe we try to look at social engagement or things like that.

So all the things that we talked about on our past episode, right? Yeah, I think so. At least. Yeah. All those things that we, that we kind of talked through in the lens of demand gen and lead gen, but completely relate to ABM at the end of the day. because one of the talking points of the demand gen movement, the loud voices in the room as Drew Smith called them, , Is about like un content.

Well, guess what? ABM 10 times more of a need to ungate content here because to your point, James, what’s the point of gating it? Just to say that, oh, yeah, they download it. Do you want them to download it or do you want them to actually cons e it? Read it when you, you want, you want, , them to, because [00:42:00] when they download it in your crm, that’s another touchpoint that gets them that much closer to an s SQL based on your lead scoring system, because it needs five touch points to turn it into an mql.

Or SQL L, and then sales will finally reach out to them. Very, very good point. All right. You got me on that one. That was a good one. That wasn’t a good one. That’s like how people think and it’s just wrong . Right, which is why everybody thinks of ABM in the wrong way. Exactly. So like

What are we looking for on the ABM side of things?

All of those quality of reach, impression, traffic and engagement metrics. And then ultimately like movement of the account. Like are they moving towards an opportunity stage? Are they actually talking to an SDR if that’s part of the process? Have they booked a meeting?

Have they booked a demo? Have they booked a trial? Right? What are those bottom of the funnel activities that are showcasing whether they are actually truly moving into a pipeline opportunity or buying from you if [00:43:00] you’re, you know, complex enterprise sales down to e-commerce, right? It all comes back to that level of engagement and looking beyond the lead.

The problem is, and this comes back to what we talked about on that same episode, like leadership, trying to define success by something that is not truly a definition of success for ABM. So one thing I’ll add to that, and I’ll tell like this was directly stolen from Dave Gerhard’s last podcast, but I thought it was like a really important thing to think about.


A lot of these are ABM campaigns. We’ll start up in like a three month trial or whatever. And the goals are measured in revenue from those accounts, right? And most ABM strategies you are targeting very large enterprise accounts. Well, transparency, like those don’t move in three months. Like you’re not going to see revenue from a three month initiative.

And that’s where those engagement metrics are really important. Movement through the funnel is important. They [00:44:00] basically set a goal of… out of our thousand accounts that we’re going after we want to book three meetings with them. Right? No matter like where they’re at in the funnel because that is a step in the right direction versus, you know, revenue within that set amount of time.

Yeah. I mean, nothing else to add on top of that because it’s spot on.

All right, Andy, so I think it’s time to, to kind of wrap this up a bit,

Why don’t you give us some actionable things that we can take away in getting started with ABM? Yeah, so step number one, stop calling it ABM unless you’re actually full tilt invested in a full-fledged ABM program. And I’m not talking about just running paid media against a list of 500 to a thousand accounts, which is kind of what we talked through today.

But really invested from top to bottom of the organization… marketing, sales, all the way up to leadership. And dedicated to putting the [00:45:00] legwork to find and dedicate resources to content, creative, and messaging. The legwork into truly understanding the market and the buyer sets that live up to those markets.

And also investing in the fact of measurement. And how different measurement is from the traditional B2B marketing landscape. The accounts that are typically within an ABM approach are not going to close in three months. Unless they’re already being marketed to in some other way, and you’re just using it through a nurturing mechanism.

Like that’s a completely different story at that point. If they’re in your pipeline, if they’re already at an opportunity stage and you’re just trying to coax ’em through, okay, maybe they do close in three months. But going after net new accounts in this ABM mantra, like, that’s just not going to work.

That’s not how you actually create demand for yourself within these accounts. Which is why ABM in the grand scheme of things, has [00:46:00] to be integrated with lead gen and demand gen because they have to work together. The second piece of this is data. How clean is your data? And I’m not just talking about the data that you’re putting into the audiences and where that data’s coming from. But the output of the data.

How aligned are you on how you’re going to be measuring the success of these efforts? And with that alignment, are you truly aligned at the definition of success with marketing, sales, customer success? If it’s a customer led initiative from an ABM perspective. And really leadership, because leadership is going to be looking for ROI and revenue and a lot of other historically demand gen, lead gen metrics. And ABM ain’t going to provide you that. You’re going to have to sell it in a different way when you’re reporting out to leadership. The other aspect of alignment is what qualifies somebody to be part of this program. But also what disqualifies somebody. And disqualification is a lot more powerful than qualification. Because if you know disqualification, you can [00:47:00] automatically say, all right, have this list of a thousand accounts, you know, these hundred disqualified themselves based off of this point alone, rather than trying to fudge factor and say, oh, you know what, this might qualify them because you know, this kind of just feels right.

Number four is around tools, tech, and resources. The data targeting tools that we talked about today. Investing in those over, you know, the big ticket ABM tools that exist out there. The other diagnostic and insightful tools that will tell you who’s visiting the site, what are they visiting, and give you that indication of quality of visit. And then really the design and content resources that you need to really pull off ABM, especially in that 80-20 personalization perspective.

The last piece that I’ll throw out there is collaboration and setting it up from the very beginning to make sure that all of the stakeholders involved in this process are aligned. But also collaborating [00:48:00] on an ongoing basis. Data is going to be spread all over the place. You’re going to have marketing data, you’re going to have sales data, you’re going to have finance and revenue data lives in other places.

You’ve got the marketing ops. The rev ops people that have their own set of data. It’s going to be all over the place. Do yourself a favor and set up a weekly recurring meeting that’s probably an hour long where you’re going to sit down, have a meeting of the minds, and really collaborate on what’s working, what’s not, and staying ahead of all of those moving parts. Because that is what’s ultimately going to dictate success of an ABM effort.

Well, that wraps it folks, so. Long story short, marketing and sales have to hold hands every Monday morning, talk about what’s working, what’s not working, and , that’s essentially how you run ABM St. K baya at the same product. . Well, thanks everybody for listening. , check us out on Dragon three sixty.com.

Follow myself or Andy and we’ll talk to you next week. See you as.

[00:49:00] Thanks for listening to Digital Banter. If you enjoy today’s episode, please be sure to like and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Entertaining Content with Purpose

Interactive Demos are Better Demos

Beyond Creation: Maximizing the Impact of Your Content

People-First Playbook AMA Edition Part 2