The rise of Account Based Marketing has sparked a great debate: should we do ABM or demand generation?
They’re both very effective strategies when done the correctly. However, this debate misses the point. Just like black and white are often viewed at opposing, they actually balance each other out. Take the yin-yang for example – the black and white portions complement each other and provide balance.
The same goes for ABM and demand gen. Yet, people are often surprised to hear that we do plenty of both at Engagio.
The question that always follows is “so, how do you do demand gen and ABM at the same time?” On today’s vlog to answer that question is Heidi Bullock, CMO of Engagio. She’s done her fair share of both demand gen and ABM, so she’s the perfect person to help us answer this question.
How do you do demand gen and ABM at the same time? Hey there, Brandon Redlinger here, Director of Growth at Engagio, and this is a question that we get all the time. And to answer this question, I want to bring on Heidi Bullock, the CMO of Engagio. Across her career, she’s done a lot of demand gen, she’s done a lot of ABM, and she’s the perfect person to answer this question. So Heidi, take it away.
Hey Brandon, thanks for the nice introduction and you’re right. At Engagio, that’s a question that we are asked quite a bit. If you’ve been really successful with demand generation, how can you start to incorporate ABM into your mix without just creating a hot mess which we don’t want.
So I think one of the first things I’d like to think about and suggest to people is understand and look at your plan of record. And most B2B companies are not just gonna be focused on one size of company that they market and sell to. Many of us have a small set of companies that we look at, meaning maybe they’re an employee size of 100 and under. I’m just giving this as an example. And then you might have a mid-size tier and then an enterprise tier. And in a lot of cases, I think demand generation works really great for more small transactional deals.
There might be an individual, they’re gonna come to your website, download great content, and ultimately get passed over to the sales team, that’s what we want, right? But a lot of us as we begin to grow and especially again, if your B2B SaaS growth is the name of the game, you’re gonna often move up market. And what’s worked for you for small businesses isn’t necessarily what’s gonna work on higher mid-market enterprise and that’s really where I believe scalable ABM or also pure ABM come into play.
So, number one is start to look at your plan of record and your bookings goal and kinda get a sense of like where those bookings are coming from. And there might be a group of enterprise accounts that everyone feels great, if we get those this year, that’s gonna help us get to maybe 50% of the number and the rest come from medium and small companies. So map your marketing strategy to the companies you’re going after, number one.
Number two, I think something that’s really important is structuring your team to be successful. You can’t have a whole team that’s example, digital marketers and say, hey go do ABM if they’ve never been trained or don’t understand that. So I think it’s important to think about whether you’re a large organization and marketing, maybe you’re 80 people, or maybe you’re a small team that only has five. Think about people’s roles and responsibilities so if maybe you’re a small team, have one person that’s dedicated to ABM and that could be doing targeted ads, that could be direct mail, and most importantly, working with the sales partners in making sure they’re successful. Or if you’re a large organization, when I was at Marketo, I had a team that was pure enterprise marketing and really all they did was Account Based marketing. So two is think about your team structure.
Number three, and this is probably the hardest one for many of you, is really thinking about measurement. And if you’re an organization that’s been very focused on MQLs, this is where it starts to get tricky with ABM ’cause ABM is really all about quality and really, if you take down three big accounts that are millions of dollars, an MQL metric is not really gonna showcase that success or really be all that helpful in the early stages of that process.
One thing that I think can be very helpful is if you have a team that again is focused on ABM and again, that can be one person, that could be six, that could be 10, make sure that they have the right metrics in place like engagement. It’s often gonna be a set of people within accounts that start to interact with your company – is that looking good or bad. And then another thing you can think about instead of MQLs, think about using an MQL-A. And that means it’s gonna be a marketing qualified lead but they’re in an account that we care about.
Something that I’ve seen happen in B2B for a long time is sales people will often say MQLs, they’re not that great. And often, the reason why is it could be the right title, it could be the person did a right set of actions but maybe they’re in an account that the sales team knows they’re never gonna be able to sell to for many reasons, it just might not make sense. So I think in general, if you can get to the place where it’s a marketing qualified lead but in an account that you care about, that’s a really helpful thing to bring into your business.
So we touched on three things really quick but making sure your marketing strategy maps to the size of account or the vertical that you’re focused on, and again, one size doesn’t fit all. So apply a lot of thought to that up front. Number two, structure your team so you make sure there’s people that are focused on all that great demand gen that you wanna keep such as again, the paper click, the digital marketing, all good. And then, and obviously some folks that are going be focused on ABM, and three, think about how measurement changes because again, that’s gonna be really different and you want a model that’s gonna really showcase success when you’re doing both ABM and demand gen.