Top 6 ABM Sessions and Takeaways You May Have Missed at Dreamforce

It’s no surprise that Account Based Marketing was another hot topic this year at Dreamforce. With more and more companies thinking about moving to an account-based model, they’re demanding more tactical and practical advice for getting started and optimizing their existing ABM efforts.

Here are our favorite ABM sessions this year. We’ve summarized the sessions, given our top takeaways that you can apply today, and provided the sessions slides.

View the slide decks here:

1) The Secret Sauce for ABM: Maximizing New Business & Lifetime Value

In this session, Jon Miller, CEO of Engagio, and Kirk Crenshaw, CMO of Traackr, explained why ABM is quickly becoming the next big thing in B2B marketing. But rather than sticking to high-level strategy, Jon and Kirk dove into the execution of ABM and explained how the most innovative marketers are practicing ABM.

Top Takeaways:

  • Start your ABM journey by building a strong foundation of unified account data.
  • Start with what you know. Aspirational accounts should be attacked only after you’ve nailed the process.
  • Create engagement with relevant, human interactions over email and in-person – -not email blasts. Deliver value and be human.
  • ABM success depends on sales and marketing alignment.
  • Implement deal nurturing to accelerate stuck opportunities – but don’t blindly automate.
  • ABM measurement is about quality, not quantity; use engagement as a leading indicator to revenue.

Secret sauce for abm

2) Account-Based Marketing: From Strategy and Plans to Execution and Insights

Heidi Bullock, CMO of Engagio, and John Dering, Director, ABM Technology Strategy at Demandbase, took the big idea of ABM and distilled it down to it digestible and actionable lessons. They revealed how the marketing leadership from each team has built a world-class ABM program from the ground up. They ended with how to capitalize on anonymous buying behavior and the biggest secrets to launching your ABM program.

Top Takeaways:

  • ABM is an impactful marketing strategy for B2B marketers.
  • Historically, marketers have leveraged demand generation, but in some cases are hitting points of diminishing returns – lead quality can be poor, some see increases in churn and poor retention.
  • ABM is about being targeted and focused – honing in on the best accounts for the business.
  • Key considerations for getting started:
    • Establish an ABM Leadership Team
    • Build a target account list.
    • Have a diligent approach program entitlement.
    • Understand where your accounts are before executing programs – are they aware?
    • Measurement is different with ABM
      • Focus on quality not quantity
        Track accounts not leads (MQAs not MQLs)
        Time spent (engagement minutes)
        Track impact and influence more than try to apportion ‘credit’ (team effort)
        Measure long-term success with funnel metrics
    • You can start small – just START.

From strategy to execution

3) From Prospect to Customer: Maximizing Lifetime Value with Account Based Marketing

In this presentation, Heidi Bullock busted some of the big myths that could be holding you back from seeing success and leveraging ABM to its fullest. First, ABM doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking. In fact, you can get up and running pretty quickly. Second, ABM is for all stages of the customer journey, including post-sale. Heidi finished with real examples of ABM plays that they use at Engagio.

Top Takeaways:

  • Today marketers struggle with driving quality pipeline and often a lot of energy is placed on acquisition.  To ensure success in the long term and growth, don’t overlook retention, up-sell or cross-sell.
  • Marketers need to think about Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and how that contributes to the business over time.
  • Account based marketing is a proven and impactful strategy that is based on being targeted and focused on the best customer types of the business (ICP). Defining an ICP is a critical component of being successful and driving growth, but many organizations fail to do this.
  • Once ICP is defined, ABM can be applied, and this is useful strategy – can be used for
    •  acquisition
    •  deal acceleration
    •  retention
    •  upsell- cross-sell

from prospect to customer

4) The State of ABM: Driving the Highest ROI of Any B2B Strategy

Jon Miller gave an exclusive insider look at the State of ABM. In this session, Jon presented a quick overview of how B2B marketing has evolved, and how to predict where it’s going. He then went into one big myth that holds companies back from getting started and ended with how to get up and running with ABM in less than 30 days.

Top Takeaways:

  • Account-Based Marketing is a strategic approach that coordinates personalized marketing and sales efforts to land and expand high-value accounts.
  • ABM has a higher ROI than any other B2B marketing strategy — no waste, focuses efforts on accounts with higher lifetime value (ACV and retention).
  • Begin your ABM journey by building the right foundation — consolidate data and use Lead to Account Matching to roll the data up at the account level.
  • You’re not going to connect with executives at top accounts with broad ads and email blasts.   Engage target accounts with relevant, human interactions coordinated across channels.
  • ABM can take a long time to show results.  Explain to the team that quantity-based metrics may go down as you focus more on quality, and make sure you put leading indicators into place so you can show results along the way.
  • Get started with a pilot – implement L2A, start with accounts you have, reach out with an integrated direct mail + ADR outreach play.

The state of ABM

5) #1 ABM: The New Gold Rush: Account Based Marketing from Top CEOs and CMOs

This was the #1 ABM session at Dreamforce last year, so they got the band back together.  This year, the results are in, and it was once again the #1 ABM session at Dreamforce 2017. Rishi Dave (CMO of Dun & Bradstreet), Robi Ganguly (CEO of Apptentive), Jason Jue (CMO of Triblio), Jon Miller (CEO of Engagio), and Fred Studer (CMO of FinancialForce) joined the moderator, Fred Tsai (Senior Director of Salesforce), for another killer session. They each presented for 3-5 minutes to give an inside view on “what’s worked” and “what hasn’t worked” for them. This session ended with Q&A.

Top Takeaways:

  • Jon Miller: Account Scoring & Engagement
    • The absolute most foundational piece for doing ABM is lead-to-account matching – if you don’t have that in place, you’re going to have a hard time being successful in ABM.
    • The more time an Account spends researching your products and services, the more likely they are to become a customer or grow as an existing customer. Using TIME as a way to measure activity is how Engagio helps marketing measure Account quality.
    • Most marketers know about lead journeys, but you must pay attention to account journeys.
    • You cannot wait around to measure ABM, so you have to build your account funnel and determine your early indicators of success.
      • “What’s worked”
        • Defining “Entitlements” for different ABM styles before picking target accounts
        • Creating leading indicators, since revenue takes a long time
        • Proving success with Sales early on
      • “What hasn’t worked”
        • Account ads don’t drive meetings/opps (for us at least)
        • Spray and pray SDR techniques
  • Rishi Dave
    • Organizations need to leverage data and analytics to align ABM efforts and drive growth.
    • 6 steps to ABM Success
      • 1 – Know your market
      • 2 – Identify and validate your targets
      • 3 – Populate account map
      • 4 – Create account-specific message
      • 5 – Execute the program
      • 6 – Measure, refine and expand
  • Jason Jue
    • When doing ABM ads, you must look at both the account and the person.
    • Drive those ads to a personalized web experience and you’ll get great engagement and conversions.
  • Fred Studer
    • ABM is not about spray and pray – it’s about quality.
    • The digital experience is changing, and you can now do to account based, role based, region based, product based marketing to engage the right people.
  • Robi Ganguly:
    • Nothing beats a personal relationship.
    • Use ABM to drive higher Support CSAT.
    • ABM doesn’t end with a sale – you must continue the relationship and focus on retention.

what works and what doesn't in abm

6) The Rise Of Revenue Ops – The Transformation Panel

Charlie Liang, Director of Marketing at Engagio, joined a panel with other marketing ops practitioners to talk about the B2B transformation that’s created a new Revenue Ops framework, and how operations drive revenue. They talked about practices for the ops functions through the four Revenue Ops pillars: Management & Strategy, Process Optimization, Technology & Project Management, and Data & Analytics.

Top Takeaways:

  • Ops are the unsung hero of your go-to-market organization – without it, you
  • Marketing, Sales & IT must all work together to support the modern revenue group.
  • Customer lifecycle should be the focal point of revenue ops.
Brandon Redlinger
Brandon Redlinger
Brandon Redlinger is the Head of Growth at Engagio, the Account-Based Marketing and Sales platform that enables teams to measure account engagement and orchestrate human connections at scale. He is passionate about the intersection between tech and psychology, especially as it applies to growing businesses. You can follow him on twitter @brandon_lee_09 or connect with him on LinkedIn.

2 Responses to “Top 6 ABM Sessions and Takeaways You May Have Missed at Dreamforce”

November 14, 2017 at 7:17 pm, Rob Leavitt said:

Thanks Brandon, great summary! I especially like the emphases in many of these on quality over quantity, integrated online and offline, and ABM post-sale. Sorry I wasn’t able to attend any of these.


November 15, 2017 at 1:16 am, Brandon Redlinger said:

Thanks, Rob, really appreciate it! We’re taking a queue from some of the great work you’re doing at ITSMA!


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