ABM Bird Box: What Can The Movie Bird Box Teach You About Being A Better Marketer?

Hello! I’m Sandra Freeman, and I lead ABM Programs at Engagio. I also love movies and can’t resist sharing some ABM tips in the context of Sandra Bullock’s new movie “Bird Box”. Sandra had to overcome mysterious evil forces, food scarcity, and river rapids, all while blindfolded. Her box-of-live-birds came in handy because they warned of impending threats. In other words, the birds started squawking when threats were imminent, basically a warning system.

I’m going to share some red flags (aka Bird Box Alerts!) for your ABM programs that will get your own virtual Bird Box squawking loudly, plus specific HOW TO TIPS to address each issue. And for Engagio customers, I’ve included Engagio product-specific tips along the way.

BIRD BOX ALERT: Lack of Visibility

Running ABM without a clear, consolidated view of accounts is akin to going down those river rapids blindfolded – you might make it through with some luck like Sandra Bullock, but it is bumpy, inefficient and you might capsize! A better approach is to tear off the blindfolds and ensure everyone on your team has the same view of the account and can take action.

HOW TO TIPS for increasing Visibility:

  1. Use Lead-to-Account Matching to ensure all the right people at the accounts you are targeting are visible to your team. From a systems perspective, this literally means using algorithms to look at domains and IP addresses to find people that are not associated with accounts in your database and add them to your account view, so they don’t slip through the cracks.
  2. Track engagement at the account level across multiple channels (e.g., your website, email activity, calls, content, executive engagement, field events, tradeshows, workshops, etc.), and consolidate or “roll up” that engagement so it is visible in summary at the account level.
  3. Track communications at the account level. With Engagio Scout, you can access email history between your company and your top targets. I’ve also found this super useful when folks change jobs – either from my team or at the target account – as this valuable communications trail is not lost.

Engagio User Tip: I use Engagio Scout regularly to spot check my teams follow up and associated customer reactions. View your team’s communications history with a specific account either from within Engagio directly or from the Salesforce Account view using the Engagio Scout widget. The goal is to find ways to optimize – to make sure follow up is timely and relevant and we aren’t missing opportunities. I also want to understand what questions people are asking, could our messaging be clearer, and what is working that we can replicate.

BIRD BOX ALERT: Lack of Sales Support

If Sales doesn’t know or care what ABM programs are available to them, your probability of success is very low – like opening up all the windows on “Bird Box” – eeek! One of the most gratifying parts of my ABM role at Engagio is positive feedback from Sales. Here are some real examples:

  • “Wow, I’ve been trying to connect with this account for months, this play finally got the conversation going!”
  • “My account was looking to push our next meeting out for 4 months and with the added meeting incentive program – now the meeting is 9am tomorrow! Thank you!”
  • “Hey, did you see that Tier 1 account that went dark responded after our engagement play, give me five!”

HOW TO TIPS for Increasing Sales Support

  1. Schedule ABM Stand Ups – connect with your reps and CSMs on a regular basis to review status of key accounts and collaborate on what programs will make the most impact. Document what you agree to for easy reference later and to keep everyone accountable.
  2. Communications – keep your next steps simple so it is clear who does what when. And then communicate, communicate, communicate! I try to practice the 7×7 rule – communicating a combination of 7 times and 7 ways in various channels that make the most sense for my team.
  3. Share ABM Success Internally – ensure you have a feedback loop for ABM successes and then share them internally. Lars Christenson and Daniel Day at Snowflake have developed an award-winning ABM program – and it started with a small pilot with just a handful of reps. As those reps started winning more, other reps wanted to know what they were missing and started clamoring “How do I get ABM support too?”

Engagio User Tip: Here are some of the key data points the Engagio revenue team uses to review account status as we formulate ABM action plans: recent account engagement (Engagio), newly engaged executives (Engagio), number of recent sales touches (Engagio custom field that counts Sales activities), active research on relevant topics (Bombora), predictive account scores (Everstring), and hiring for a relevant job (Linkedin). For your customers, you can look at product usage (Pendo), NPS scores (Delight) and adoption status (Salesforce custom calculation).

BIRD BOX ALERT: Lack of Resources

Everyone needs to work within a budget framework (if you have unlimited resources, oooh I’d like to meet you!) Given limited resources, you need to focus and make plans based on where you think you can get the most bang-for-your-buck. Some top questions to ask are:

  • Based on my objectives and resources, will my current plan get me there?
  • What programs have been successful that I can replicate and what creative new approaches can I add?
  • Which reps and accounts will have the biggest impact on my goals?
  • Can we work with partners and if so, which partners should be prioritized?

HOW TO TIPS to making the most of limited resources:

  1. Create an Entitlement Matrix – This is a planning exercise with the end deliverable outlining what level of support specific accounts and/or account tiers will receive. This type of entitlement matrix sets expectations and puts everyone on the same page.
  2. Leverage partners – working with partners can stretch your budget and resources as well as amplify your results. Much like the entitlement matrix for your target accounts, also define the level of support and programs you are able to apply to specific partners and/or tiers of partners.
  3. Know what works and what doesn’t – so you can double down on the best approach. Be consistent about populating your campaigns and naming and what is considered a success so you can evaluate across various programs.

Engagio User Tip: With Engagio Dash, you can compare attribution models including First Touch, Last Touch, Equal touch, Position Based, Time Decay and custom models too. You’ll be able to understand which initiatives impact early stage account activity and those that help accelerate deals. To learn more about Dash, request a demo here.


I read a review that said the only thing scary about Bird Box is the possibility of a sequel. Haha! But, as I’ve outlined above, with the right tools and focus, you can overcome lack of visibility, limited sales support and budget constraints and keep your ABM programs on the boat ride to success.


And for those of you that have watched Bird Box, here are some perplexing questions. Please share yours in the comments below!

  • Wouldn’t one of the houses on the river have life jackets that Sandra could have put on her kids?
  • How did the birds live through the rapids, let alone blindfolded children that would never have learned to swim?
  • I am having déjà vu with “Quiet Place” and “28 Days Later”, are you?
Sandra Freeman
Head of Strategic Marketing at Engagio. ABM enthusiast with a love of smart people, creative ideas, wine, and the ocean.

2 Responses to “ABM Bird Box: What Can The Movie Bird Box Teach You About Being A Better Marketer?”

January 18, 2019 at 7:05 pm, Jolene A Zanghi said:

Great piece! I have to wonder, did you purposefully use Comic Sans in the graphic? If so, brilliant!


January 18, 2019 at 8:21 pm, Sandra Freeman said:

Yes – I checked with our designer and have confirmed it was a conscious design choice! Love that you both notice that detail.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *