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Focusing in on your Account-Based Marketing Goals - ABM in the House Episode 4

Written by Declan Mulkeen

Jul 4 2020

ABM in the House: a series of conversations between Alex Olley, Co-founder of Reachdesk and Declan Mulkeen, CMO of Strategic IC, as they explore how to build an effective Account-based Marketing (ABM) programme.

While previous episodes have explored How to Redefine Your ICP, How to Build a Target Account List, and Building Out the Decision Making Unit (DMU), Episode 4 looks into Focusing in on your Strategy and Goals.

ABM in the House - Focusing in on your Strategy and Goals

Episode 4 - Transcript

Alex Olley (Reachdesk) - Welcome to Episode 4 of "ABM in the House".
Dec, how are you?

Declan Mulkeen (Strategic IC) - Very well, Alex, how you doing?

Alex - Yeah, I'm really well, thanks, mate. Um, it's nice and hot over here, looks like it's nice over there in Spain. It's pretty cool, we're doing ABM in the garden this week, I suppose. So, yeah, let's crack on.

Okay, so just a quick recap, what we've done so far is we've defined our ICP, built and tiered our Target Account list, we've expanded the Decision Making Unit, or the DMU, as you call it. We've got our Buyer Personas that we want to target in each account. So what do you want to talk about today? Let's get to that next step.

Declan - Yeah, well I think it's probably important that we take a step back for a second. We have all the mechanics of a solid foundation for an ABM programme, as you've mentioned, but I think it's important we actually ask ourselves a question about what are the goals and the strategy that we're looking to achieve by doing ABM. And so what we often call this is we call it the context for ABM and there are really, well, we drill down to kind of four main reasons that ABM is valid for. And the first one is account penetration. That's obviously when you've got an existing account that you're looking to cross-sell, to up-sell, to enter new countries, new markets, new business units et cetera. The second one is when you're looking to pursue a major opportunity. You know, that kind of typical big deal that you've heard about, that RFP, that tender, et cetera. 

Typically also the third one that we find is very common, is when you want to develop a new account. And that's when you want to win a new logo, obviously, then the question is which ones are the right ones? Which goes back to the whole point around Target Account Selection. And then finally, one that we find is where ABM is a really good fit is when you're looking to change perceptions or looking to change the position that you have in the market.

So I think it's important that we look at the context for ABM. So once we actually have that context, it's now a question of actually looking at the Target Accounts that you've identified previously and moving forward with those. How does that sound, Alex?

Alex - I think that's really smart and that strategy is really important. Now, the reason why I like that so much is 'cause there's kind of this misconception about ABM. A lot of businesses are like, "we're going to do ABM and we're going to do it just to book meetings", or like, direct mail as ABM. Account-based Marketing is that whole strategy. And once you identify as a business, you know, do we want to break into these accounts? Do we want to win these new ones, for example? You have more of a laser-focused approach. Suppose, once you've agreed on that, you can actually use that account tiering that we discussed in, I think it was Episode 2, to decide on those strategies you want to deploy. Which types of ABM programmes each is valid for. But I'm really curious then, how do you do that at Strategic IC?

Declan - Well, at the Agency, I mean everyone's very familiar with, you know, One-to-one ABM, One-to-few and One-to-many, and they have different names such as, you know, Programmatic ABM, or Strategic ABM, but generally there are three types of ABM programmes that most people are familiar with. What we tend to do is we take the tiering that we've obviously assigned earlier and we use that tiering to decide which type of ABM programme is the relevant one for the account we're looking to target. So, for example, and here's just some ideas, so, for example, Tier 3 accounts for us are typically accounts where there's a turnover of somewhere between 25 and 50 million pounds or dollars. They have a relatively small Sales and Marketing team and they have, let's say, you know, less than about 100 employees. And that is typically where we would deploy a One-to-many ABM programme and this would be obviously at scale to hundreds or indeed thousands of accounts. 

Tier 2 accounts for us would be accounts that are obviously a much higher turnover, above 50 million dollars, up to perhaps even to a billion dollars, and where they have obviously an employee size of north of 250 employees approximately. And that's where we would look at a One-to-few programme but then in a One-to-few programme we're looking at a cluster of around 15 to 20 accounts where there is something in common. You know, the same industry, the same sector, the same vertical, the same business challenge. And then finally, Tier 1 accounts for us are, these are hand-picked accounts and this is where we would deploy a One-to-one programme but this is typically no more than 3, 4, 5 accounts and I think the important thing for everyone to remember is that the higher up you go, in terms of going from One-to-many, to One-to-few, to One-to-one, you need more and more resources. And with that kind of resource-heavy approach, you need to be very careful that you don't apply your ABM programme to too many accounts. So, Alex, at Reachdesk, once you have that visualised, what's next for you?

Alex - I suppose what's next is, as you mention, you kind of, you decide on that programme, it's all about your value proposition. And your messaging strategies. Okay? The work that you'll have done on your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) your Target Accounts, the DMU, all of that's giving you a lot the detailed information you need on key business drivers within those accounts, the industry and sector challenges. Particularly now, right, we're working at home, but some sectors, industries have more specific challenges than ever. You'll also understand a little bit more about the account-specific challenges. You mentioned that Tier 1. You might already have intelligence on those accounts or are using intent data, something along those lines.

And really importantly, even at the Decision Makers, those Buyer Persona challenges, particularly for your Sales team, your Sales team need to understand that. Not just the Marketing team, so that when you start to communicate, you can talk to them on their level. I always say if you can take a step in someone's shoes and walk a mile in those shoes, then you'll understand that person a lot better. So depending on your ABM programme, whether it's One-to-many, One-to-few, One-to-one, you'll need to invest more or less in like, developing specific insights, content, messaging that are relevant and aligned at the industry account and persona level, right?

And this is where the fun starts. You may have a lot of content you've already got, you might have a lot of videos, blog posts, white papers, e-books, but it's a case of mapping that content to each stage of the Buyer Journey, visualising that, don't just do it for yourself as a Marketer by the way. Don't just say, "this is all the things, this is how we're going to do it on our website". Once you've mapped that out, see where the gaps are, so you know what you need to create for other stages of the Buyer Journey. I'd love to know how you do that, by the way, Dec.

Declan - Well, very similar to yourselves there at Reachdeck, to be honest, Alex.

We obviously highly recommend with our clients running content mapping, buyer mapping, value proposition, messaging strategy workshops and we do that obviously to hone and to align all of the messaging, all of the content before we start even thinking about channel tactics. And I think what's important and I think you would also agree, is that this content mapping, it's vitally important because it's not just going to help you with your ABM channel tactics but it's also going to be an invaluable resource for your Sales teams that they can obviously for the first time ever visualise everything that's been created by your company and when and where they can use it at which stage of the Buyer Journey. So we typically find that this approach is also, it kills two birds, for want of a better word, and it creates a foundation but it also provides invaluable resources for your Sales Team.

So that leaves us nicely set up for next week. What shall we talk about in Episode 5?

Alex - I suppose, well we've got to the really fun part in a sense, Dec. I'd really like to focus on campaign strategies, how you kind of build a playbook around that. Maybe even dig into the channels and those kind of things, so I'd love to cover that next week if that works for you.

Declan - That sounds like a great idea.

Alex - Good stuff. Well, enjoy that sun in Spain. You going to be working in the garden for the rest of the day? Or you going to be popping back inside?

Declan - I think I'm going to stay here and enjoy the weather for the rest of the day.

Alex - Yeah, likewise. Cool, well if the sun's still shining next week, let's do it in the garden.

Declan - Excellent, okay. See you next week, Alex. Thank you.

Alex - Cheers Dec.

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