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're listening to marketing spark. In the BB world you hear a lot about ABM, or account base marketing, and simple terms, involves focusing on a small number of companies to drive marketing and sales engagement and it fitsiuses practice. There are 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 funnel dot IO. Welcome to the PODCAST, Andre. Thanks for having in Mark. Super outside of the chat was about a BM and Paul Sings Reletta to compox a bit of the marketing. We've got a lot to cover. There's so 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 companies bbbbbbs, as companies look to leverage it from a marketing and sales perspective to really hone in on the prospects who matter. What's going on? What is the state of ABM? How is it changed over the last eighteen months? I believe that a BM is at topic of that. Gots lots of high and it's just because, as annison and marketing, a BM, demand generation, pramp, market and on Satra. These are wack market and thoughtms that I'm not really clear to the companies. Lots of companies don't have marketing background and they rely on the content of MORTEC vendors and their knowledge of ABM is limited to the block posts evokes, webinars produced by the MARTEC vendors. And that's the huge problem because in a majority of cases whenever I talk to Non Marketing Executive, I mean executive who doesn't have a background and marketing, and I 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 course right now, but in most cases people describe it as display adds, as a warm up play and outbound. So Nice and new is here. So it's just display adds that are pretended to warm up strategic accounts and then it's a kind of outreach sequence and that's it. But the truth is that conveys marketing is just as specific or what we use to call it lass or targeted approach. When Yo do an appropriate account less building, we can cover this and yog and the accounts that I included in your list are not just only the accounts that fit y'all, let's say demographic criteria, formographic criteria, but the accounts that have an existent need in your services. Somehow they showed the interest in in the product. Like this, you have some sort of engagement and you know that your product might help...

...to achieve their goals or fulfill the existence 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, but the 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 specific company like unders Inter, which is offering sums, and to mark Evans to help 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't have, let's say, they don't have enough skill set, and that's why they rely heavin on the content data s available and they tend to think that it's just enough to purchase expensive ABM software because this way you'll be my advanced or whatever they you know they sing they will be. It's enough to put our more money into display ads and then just build the outreach. That's that's the biggest problem. I'm staying right on that. The huge gap. The come fuinness that understand how to do the ABM the right way, crow and really fast. That's a lot of information to digest in a short period of time. And you mentioned list building and it does sort of strike me that how does this company WHO's interested in ABM start the process? What should they do first to make sure that they they do it in the right way from the beginning? Yeah, absolutely. First of all, the fall launch and any 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 the must 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 particle and the way. How do they purchase your products? That's crucial. So in 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 with this team size, you know, and this revenue level. Now the goal is to identify and the common criteria, all, let's say, the common patterns of features of Your best customers. Then, from customer interviews, to understand what triggers them to start looking for products like yours. How do they use 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 products like yours. And this is crucial because...

...this is the only way how you can develop your marketing and sales process. It should be your marketing and sales process should be built, should be based on how your customers are by and not how you tend to sing their by, and so this is crucial before launching any program not only a BM. So when it's done, then the next step is discussed, an account qualification and disqualification createra. I have heard a lot about qualification and usually it's all about team size, revenue, let's say, geographical area, etc. But the truth is that drove so many non 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's say the product team of this specific target accounts should have mobile as decay in their linked and profile description, because we knew if they had this, let's say in that title, this mobile is De k was a key priority so they could fit with a service. You know this specific accounts and if they didn'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 on the wrong accounts. And next up is disqualification. I have really seen that anybody talks about this qualification, but the truth is that not all accounts a good 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 take this specific example I just shared. So in this case the disqualification criteria was if, citio or whipoff, I had a backloor degree in post Soviet countries or 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 they could find a cheaper vendor for this specific services. So that was another disqualification criteria which is not obvious. Or, in one example, solways one and price Fintech company. As a disqualification criteria, we had two points. If we were prospecting chief financial officers, so cf colls, and if they were the first year on their position or if they spent more than five years at the same position at the same company, we just qualified these people because the Truss, again, the truth, was that if they if it was their first yeah, they didn't want to change anything, and if they spent more than five years, it means that they have already established some specific process and they 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 questions that I have already mentioned and understanding. So that's that's crucial. And then again, so desire the key points. And then you need to understand two more things. Before reaching out, you should warm up accounts and again they just touched this. Forming up is not just pouring more money in into Ip based display adds, because the truths, I know Chris Walker actually articulated this issue really good. So look where people spent most of their day. They use CRM systems, they use slack email, they use as now whatever notion for project management, and they spend ninety percent of their time in this software and he won't be able to target them with display ads. Not Everybody is hanging out on Linkedin as lots of vendors. And Form Up, we can obvious at touch at you should do completely different things when it comes to warm up and then activation. When it comes to activation, you should set up at let's say, specific account engagement threshold. You should set up account engagement triggers when you should be reaching out, so you know this accounts are warm uped enough and they are ready to talk to you and definitely they showed some interest in in a product or in solution you are selm. So this had the key points. And the last one is that marketing and sales should be aligned on this programs, which means that everybody knows how the campaign is right and what everybody should be done, at what time, etc. So it's not about marketing is done a part of campaign and sales doing is completely different part of this campaign and nobody knows how the entire program works. That's a lot of ground to cover in some great advice, but the one thing that I wanted to hone in on was customer insight and the importance of truly knowing who your customers are so that when you're doing ABM or content marketing or social media 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 you can connect and engage with them. The most important part is running this interviews with customers. If we'll ask ten companies, I mean ten random be to be companies right now, I believe nine of ten will tell they have never talked to their customers, which means that just guess working on how their customers approachase 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 guess work. You don't know if it's validated. So your plane out say, not predictable game. You are not sure if your message will resonate with new strategic accounts or want resonate. So that's the key point. You need to have the indepth interview so we have a specific process. Again, we can touch the details, but the key point is that during this interview you should ask five groups of questions, and the first one is all about the research process, which where you ask who is in charge of the research? If, when it comes, you know, when it comes to looking for solutions to 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 they ask there, what's the best crm for, I don't know, fintach company, just random example. This is the way how they buy. Next one is all about the value. So this is how you can refine your marketing message. So what's the value you are getting from our product? What specific outcomes do you have? Not In this case, you avoid situation when they 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's the key point. So next one is, who are the end users? And this is how you come you can identify the part of the buying committee and the next group of question is questions as all about the buying committee structure and the decisionmaking process. So you can ask, when you just when you have discussed our product, who was evaluating or considering it, and then you can identify the roles that I influence on the decision making process. What questions did they ask? Did you compare us to any other vendor? This is how you can identify the real competition. Why did you choose us? That's this is how you can understand what resonated in your message with them. And the most important question, why didn't you choose our competitors? Now you can understand 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 just hear it from your customers. And finally, you can ask the questions about the channels 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 you follow? If you if you want to ask a question, where do you go, etc. This is how you...

...can identify this what what is being called 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 be marketing your product, your Sorros. So the only way to learn and understand this is just by Talken to to your best customers. I don't know how you can find this another way. I want to talk to you about the CD bdb Marketing in two thousand and twenty two, but before we move on, I wanted to circle back on the statement that nine out of ten marketers 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 or ignorant of the people that matter. As marketers yes, it's important to focus on 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 net promoter scores or an occasional lune shoor survey, but spending the time to understand who their customers are and what makes them check? What's the blocker or thing that is stopping them? I will share my honest opinion. The first one is that bit of Bee Marketing is not taught on schools. So in my in the majority of cases, marketers join and a company and if this culture of 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 and they're moving from company to company and nobody talks about this. So that's that's the problem. And the next the next issue, let's say, the mode they spent in a marketing space, the mode the ignorant the fact that they should be talking to their customers, the more uncomfortable it becomes when they there, when they realize the importance. So it means, you know, I need to call somebody and then, let's say, I have heard multiple time times the objection that why should our customers till to us? We don't want to bother them. Right, but, but the question is for me, it's just a rat flesh. So if your customers are not willing to dedicate ten, fifteen minutes of their time to you, it means that you have a huge problem. It means that at one point you can just receive an email. Sorry, guys, we're not going we want to cancel our account or 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 to customers, not only you can generate this the specific insights, because we also didn't talk about the account expansion which is part of ABM, because usually BM is all about Lee generation, correct generate and more opportunities, but it's also about deal expansion. So you can...

...ask if you have a case study, a successful use case, you can talk about the strategic goals, initiatives and if you are prospective, let's say multinational companies, you can generate a new opportunity in a new French so lots of ideas and the only way to do it is just by talking to customers. The next one is also tracking the satisfaction, because lots of companies operate with the mindset they that their customers are happy by the fault. If they're not complaining, it means they are happy, which is absolutely not true. So you know they might be dealing with small issues and the more the more the issues are compounding, the high that, the higher the chances that they will start and new research to find an alternative, to find the new emder and you'll just get at one point and email saying sorry, we are just consoling our account and not go into to 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 they should be doing this and the more time they spent on market and the more time 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 a lot over the last a team ments months. One of the biggest challenges is that conferences disappeared. Curious about your take on what you see as the most interesting marketing trends as we head into two thousand and twenty two, and are their platforms that you believe that Beb marketers need to embrace? I would say one 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 more companies are start and doing the man generation and involving executives, teams, sales teams. 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 also a part. It's a part of a count based market and it also helps to establish this pierce relationship and deliver pierce related content, because executives can share the content that is related to dedicated to executive south as strategic accounts, marketers can talk the content that is related to marketers, etc. So you got the idea piers related content or diversified content strategy. Next one. It also helps 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 are strategic 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 in this specific narrow market. They shouldn't have. It's not about having, you know, K followers on linked in, on twitter, absolutely no. It's being 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, if we'll talk about if I'll consider the entire world at this trend is mostly I'm seeing 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 I love. This is this is how company is. This is the easiest way to connect with strategic account because when they you know you are connected and then they are open in a profile of as d are of an executive, they see 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, thanks for listening to another episode of marketing spark. If you enjoyed the conversation, leave review subscribe by Itunes, spotify or your favorite podcast APP, and share via social media. To learn more about how I help BDB SAS companies as a fractional CMO, strategic advisor and coach, send an email to mark at marketing spark dotcom or connect with me on Linkedin. I'll talk to you next time.

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