Taking the Right Approach to ABM

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In simple terms, account-based marketing (ABM) is about targeting the prospects that really matter.

It's about a laser-focused approach to marketing and sales.

Behind the scenes, however, a lot needs to happen. It includes ensuring that marketing and sales work together to attract, engage, and nurture prospects.

On this episode of Marketing Spark, Andrei Zinkevich also points out that ABM also involves determining the customers that you don't want as much as the customers you do want.

Andrei goes into depth about how his company, Full Funnel, helps B2B SaaS companies leverage ABM to drive leads and revenue growth.

Hey, it's Mark Evans and you'relistening to marketing spark. In the BB world you hear a lot about ABM, or account base marketing, and simple terms, involves focusing on a smallnumber of companies to drive marketing and sales engagement and it fitsiuses practice. Thereare many moving parts to get inside into ABM and how it has been evolving. I'm excited to be talking with Andre Zinkovich, Co founder of full funneldot IO. Welcome to the PODCAST, Andre. Thanks for having in Mark. Super outside of the chat was about a BM and Paul Sings Reletta tocompox a bit of the marketing. We've got a lot to cover. There'sso much insight that you offer on Linkedin and I'm excited to get into it. But let's start with ABM. You hear a lot about it as companiesbbbbbbs, as companies look to leverage it from a marketing and sales perspective toreally hone in on the prospects who matter. What's going on? What is thestate of ABM? How is it changed over the last eighteen months?I believe that a BM is at topic of that. Gots lots of highand it's just because, as annison and marketing, a BM, demand generation, pramp, market and on Satra. These are wack market and thoughtms thatI'm not really clear to the companies. Lots of companies don't have marketing backgroundand they rely on the content of MORTEC vendors and their knowledge of ABM islimited to the block posts evokes, webinars produced by the MARTEC vendors. Andthat's the huge problem because in a majority of cases whenever I talk to NonMarketing Executive, I mean executive who doesn't have a background and marketing, andI ask what's your take on a BM? What does it mean to you?In most cases people describe it, and a little bit generalizing of courseright now, but in most cases people describe it as display adds, asa warm up play and outbound. So Nice and new is here. Soit's just display adds that are pretended to warm up strategic accounts and then it'sa kind of outreach sequence and that's it. But the truth is that conveys marketingis just as specific or what we use to call it lass or targetedapproach. When Yo do an appropriate account less building, we can cover thisand yog and the accounts that I included in your list are not just onlythe accounts that fit y'all, let's say demographic criteria, formographic criteria, butthe accounts that have an existent need in your services. Somehow they showed theinterest in in the product. Like this, you have some sort of engagement andyou know that your product might help...

...to achieve their goals or fulfill theexistence needs. So that's that's the key and your approach. In most cases. You know, there are lots of talks that ABM is has different place, like one to one, one to few, one too many, butthe truth is that a conbase market and originates from one to one approach.It means that you deliver a specific forma program and specific solution to a specificcompany like unders Inter, which is offering sums, and to mark Evans tohelp him to achieve his goals. And that's the different from US market.And the biggest problem is that lots of companies don't realize this. They don'thave, let's say, they don't have enough skill set, and that's whythey rely heavin on the content data s available and they tend to think thatit's just enough to purchase expensive ABM software because this way you'll be my advancedor whatever they you know they sing they will be. It's enough to putour more money into display ads and then just build the outreach. That's that'sthe biggest problem. I'm staying right on that. The huge gap. Thecome fuinness that understand how to do the ABM the right way, crow andreally fast. That's a lot of information to digest in a short period oftime. And you mentioned list building and it does sort of strike me thathow does this company WHO's interested in ABM start the process? What should theydo first to make sure that they they do it in the right way fromthe beginning? Yeah, absolutely. First of all, the fall launch andany program, not only ABM. You should do the fundamentals the right way, which means that you but now what particles are the most profitable and themust not creative to your business. The next step is understand and the needs, the goals of this of the prospects of the accounts from this specific particleand the way. How do they purchase your products? That's crucial. Soin this case, and this is how you build your ideal customer profile.It's not just about saying hey, want to prospect startups from North America withthis team size, you know, and this revenue level. Now the goalis to identify and the common criteria, all, let's say, the commonpatterns of features of Your best customers. Then, from customer interviews, tounderstand what triggers them to start looking for products like yours. How do theyuse the products? How do they run their research? Was whom they advice? What influences their decision making process? You know what, let's say,what questions are being discussed at in house meetings when they are considering plot productslike yours. And this is crucial because...

...this is the only way how youcan develop your marketing and sales process. It should be your marketing and salesprocess should be built, should be based on how your customers are by andnot how you tend to sing their by, and so this is crucial before launchingany program not only a BM. So when it's done, then thenext step is discussed, an account qualification and disqualification createra. I have hearda lot about qualification and usually it's all about team size, revenue, let'ssay, geographical area, etc. But the truth is that drove so manynon standard or unique criteria for every vertical Lapp. Let's make a precise example. So with one software development company, when narrow their focusing and position,and then we will looking. One of the account qualification criteria was that let'ssay the product team of this specific target accounts should have mobile as decay intheir linked and profile description, because we knew if they had this, let'ssay in that title, this mobile is De k was a key priority sothey could fit with a service. You know this specific accounts and if theydidn't have it, then it means that mobile is decay is the lowest priority. And first that was a huge qualification criteria so we didn't waste time onthe wrong accounts. And next up is disqualification. I have really seen thatanybody talks about this qualification, but the truth is that not all accounts agood fit for you, even if they fit, you'll let's say revenue team, size, geographical criteria. The truth is, let's say, let's takethis specific example I just shared. So in this case the disqualification criteria wasif, citio or whipoff, I had a backloor degree in post Soviet countriesor India, and the only reason for this why we'll just qualify this accounts, because usually they have had strong network or connections in this counts and theycould find a cheaper vendor for this specific services. So that was another disqualificationcriteria which is not obvious. Or, in one example, solways one andprice Fintech company. As a disqualification criteria, we had two points. If wewere prospecting chief financial officers, so cf colls, and if they werethe first year on their position or if they spent more than five years atthe same position at the same company, we just qualified these people because theTruss, again, the truth, was that if they if it was theirfirst yeah, they didn't want to change anything, and if they spent morethan five years, it means that they have already established some specific process andthey had a software and again they were...

...not willing to change the way.How we knew it again by running in depths customer interviews, asking the questionsthat I have already mentioned and understanding. So that's that's crucial. And thenagain, so desire the key points. And then you need to understand twomore things. Before reaching out, you should warm up accounts and again theyjust touched this. Forming up is not just pouring more money in into Ipbased display adds, because the truths, I know Chris Walker actually articulated thisissue really good. So look where people spent most of their day. Theyuse CRM systems, they use slack email, they use as now whatever notion forproject management, and they spend ninety percent of their time in this softwareand he won't be able to target them with display ads. Not Everybody ishanging out on Linkedin as lots of vendors. And Form Up, we can obviousat touch at you should do completely different things when it comes to warmup and then activation. When it comes to activation, you should set upat let's say, specific account engagement threshold. You should set up account engagement triggerswhen you should be reaching out, so you know this accounts are warmuped enough and they are ready to talk to you and definitely they showed someinterest in in a product or in solution you are selm. So this hadthe key points. And the last one is that marketing and sales should bealigned on this programs, which means that everybody knows how the campaign is rightand what everybody should be done, at what time, etc. So it'snot about marketing is done a part of campaign and sales doing is completely differentpart of this campaign and nobody knows how the entire program works. That's alot of ground to cover in some great advice, but the one thing thatI wanted to hone in on was customer insight and the importance of truly knowingwho your customers are so that when you're doing ABM or content marketing or socialmedia or advertising, your targeted on the right people in the right places.I'm interested in your advice on how BADB companies can get that customer insight.What do they need to do to really understand their customers? are motivations,pains, aspirations, all the things that you need to know so that youcan connect and engage with them. The most important part is running this interviewswith customers. If we'll ask ten companies, I mean ten random be to becompanies right now, I believe nine of ten will tell they have nevertalked to their customers, which means that just guess working on how their customersapproachase and solutions like this. What's the...

...value they're getting from this product?And then it means that your marketing message in general is is just a guesswork. You don't know if it's validated. So your plane out say, notpredictable game. You are not sure if your message will resonate with newstrategic accounts or want resonate. So that's the key point. You need tohave the indepth interview so we have a specific process. Again, we cantouch the details, but the key point is that during this interview you shouldask five groups of questions, and the first one is all about the researchprocess, which where you ask who is in charge of the research? If, when it comes, you know, when it comes to looking for solutionsto the specific challenges, where do you go? Who Do you ask?You know so you can understand if they are if they're, let's say,joining a specific community and ask a question, let's say marketing community, and theyask there, what's the best crm for, I don't know, fintachcompany, just random example. This is the way how they buy. Nextone is all about the value. So this is how you can refine yourmarketing message. So what's the value you are getting from our product? Whatspecific outcomes do you have? Not In this case, you avoid situation whenthey just answer, I love your product, which means nothing to the prospects.What does I love your product? Is stremonial? Mean to anybody?Nothing, but if they say this product helped me to improve my operations,generate more money, cut the costs, whatever, then it's actionable. That'sthe key point. So next one is, who are the end users? Andthis is how you come you can identify the part of the buying committeeand the next group of question is questions as all about the buying committee structureand the decisionmaking process. So you can ask, when you just when youhave discussed our product, who was evaluating or considering it, and then youcan identify the roles that I influence on the decision making process. What questionsdid they ask? Did you compare us to any other vendor? This ishow you can identify the real competition. Why did you choose us? That'sthis is how you can understand what resonated in your message with them. Andthe most important question, why didn't you choose our competitors? Now you canunderstand what's what your stands for? What's what's the differentiation for your prospects?Not what you are sinking about. What differentiates your product, but you justhear it from your customers. And finally, you can ask the questions about thechannels instead of guessing. That's because my company is in bitter be space. I should go for linked in and you can ask questions like what channels, what platforms do use regular where do you know? What people do youfollow? If you if you want to ask a question, where do yougo, etc. This is how you...

...can identify this what what is beingcalled right now, dark funnel. This is how I can identify this channels, this place of where they hang out, and this is why you should bemarketing your product, your Sorros. So the only way to learn andunderstand this is just by Talken to to your best customers. I don't knowhow you can find this another way. I want to talk to you aboutthe CD bdb Marketing in two thousand and twenty two, but before we moveon, I wanted to circle back on the statement that nine out of tenmarketers don't talk to their customers, and that strikes me. I'm not surprised, to be honest with you, but that strikes me as incredibly naive orignorant of the people that matter. As marketers yes, it's important to focuson running campaigns and creating content, but why don't markets truly know their customers? Why aren't they interacting with them on a regular basis, not just netpromoter scores or an occasional lune shoor survey, but spending the time to understand whotheir customers are and what makes them check? What's the blocker or thingthat is stopping them? I will share my honest opinion. The first oneis that bit of Bee Marketing is not taught on schools. So in myin the majority of cases, marketers join and a company and if this cultureof talking to customers in through you and customers wasn't evolved in this organization,they simply don't do it. Nobody says that they should be doing this andthey're moving from company to company and nobody talks about this. So that's that'sthe problem. And the next the next issue, let's say, the modethey spent in a marketing space, the mode the ignorant the fact that theyshould be talking to their customers, the more uncomfortable it becomes when they there, when they realize the importance. So it means, you know, Ineed to call somebody and then, let's say, I have heard multiple timetimes the objection that why should our customers till to us? We don't wantto bother them. Right, but, but the question is for me,it's just a rat flesh. So if your customers are not willing to dedicateten, fifteen minutes of their time to you, it means that you havea huge problem. It means that at one point you can just receive anemail. Sorry, guys, we're not going we want to cancel our accountor we're not going to resign our contract. So you'll be dealing with charm.You can just lose your best customers. And when you are regular talking tocustomers, not only you can generate this the specific insights, because wealso didn't talk about the account expansion which is part of ABM, because usuallyBM is all about Lee generation, correct generate and more opportunities, but it'salso about deal expansion. So you can...

...ask if you have a case study, a successful use case, you can talk about the strategic goals, initiativesand if you are prospective, let's say multinational companies, you can generate anew opportunity in a new French so lots of ideas and the only way todo it is just by talking to customers. The next one is also tracking thesatisfaction, because lots of companies operate with the mindset they that their customersare happy by the fault. If they're not complaining, it means they arehappy, which is absolutely not true. So you know they might be dealingwith small issues and the more the more the issues are compounding, the highthat, the higher the chances that they will start and new research to findan alternative, to find the new emder and you'll just get at one pointand email saying sorry, we are just consoling our account and not go intoto work. As you that's the problem. So to answer to prepate up,the first one is that must market. Ours didn't learn it from school,so the fundamentals of market and are broken. So they don't know theyshould be doing this and the more time they spent on market and the moretime they focus on different aspects of marketing but not talking to their customers,the more uncomfortable it becomes to them. The BDB marketing landscape has evolved alot over the last a team ments months. One of the biggest challenges is thatconferences disappeared. Curious about your take on what you see as the mostinteresting marketing trends as we head into two thousand and twenty two, and aretheir platforms that you believe that Beb marketers need to embrace? I would sayone of the most interesting trends and I love it more and more companies.Again, it's still a miserable amount of this companies, but more and morecompanies are start and doing the man generation and involving executives, teams, salesteams. So the goal of these is changing the perspective of their company.The goal of the man generation is definitely connecting with strategic accounts and it's alsoa part. It's a part of a count based market and it also helpsto establish this pierce relationship and deliver pierce related content, because executives can sharethe content that is related to dedicated to executive south as strategic accounts, marketerscan talk the content that is related to marketers, etc. So you gotthe idea piers related content or diversified content strategy. Next one. It alsohelps to reposition their sales team. Instead of being yet another sales trap,their sales team becomes trusted advisors. That's...

...a huge differentiation. So they arestrategic accounts. Tend to think about sales people not as just as the Ares, DMS or whatever of company X, but people who are sought leaders inthis specific narrow market. They shouldn't have. It's not about having, you know, K followers on linked in, on twitter, absolutely no. It'sbeing treated, or consider it as a soft leader on this specific small market. That's a nice trend and I'm seeing of course, of course, ifwe'll talk about if I'll consider the entire world at this trend is mostly I'mseeing this tramp mostly in North America. I am United States and Canada,but then Europe also will have some nice examples. And this is what Ilove. This is this is how company is. This is the easiest wayto connect with strategic account because when they you know you are connected and thenthey are open in a profile of as d are of an executive, theysee that this process is Sharon available content trust immediately they build this trust.So that's that's one of the most interesting Trans I'm sin. Well, thanksfor listening to another episode of marketing spark. If you enjoyed the conversation, leavereview subscribe by Itunes, spotify or your favorite podcast APP, and sharevia social media. To learn more about how I help BDB SAS companies asa fractional CMO, strategic advisor and coach, send an email to mark at marketingspark dotcom or connect with me on Linkedin. I'll talk to you nexttime.

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