Getting to ABM: Notes From the Field
What’s This “Playbook” Approach You Mentioned at BrandHIT?
Just as a basketball coach develops a system of organizing the team, things move so fast in marketing that that we need to have a set of plays in place. Decisions can’t be made in advance for everything. We are in the game in real time. So we start with a set of plays, run them, learn from them, refine, and discover new ones. When you see a similar situation, you know what play to call.
Here’s a classic play in ABM: At a trade show, the pre-work and game plan for the whole show is set. We know which prospects are attending, and we try to set up meetings with them in advance, using phone and digital communications. But on the show floor, we need systems to recognize and welcome key prospects they walk up to welcome station. Our team can keep a short list of account names in our heads. If it’s someone from that account, the whole team is ready. The account exec is alerted, and the key prospect is taken to a special waiting area, and welcomed with coffee. The goal is a highly differentiated customer experience.
Everyone knows this play, and what has to happen. We have plays in place across the funnel: top, middle and bottom.
How Have Your Marketing Metrics Changed With ABM?
First, in impacts. We now have plays across all three sections of funnel, with marketing impact metrics across them all. We are creating campaigns that are meaningful in the middle of the funnel. We’re even supporting our services organization way downstream. You might think of that as sales operations. We think of it as a vital component of integrated marketing. I credit Matt Heinz with helping us think this through.
Second is analytics. Reports from Google or Marketo are no longer enough. We’re finding that mid-funnel metrics are not supported through our CRM. So we have designed our own proprietary systems for data capture and reporting. We need to view the impact of communications across account activity, across deal flow. That’s a big shift. But we’re well on our way.
A version of this article appeared in Biznology, the digital marketing blog.
Ruth P. Stevens consults on customer acquisition and retention, and teaches marketing at companies and business schools around the world. She is past chair of the DMA Business-to-Business Council, and past president of the Direct Marketing Club of New York. Ruth was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing by Crain's BtoB magazine, and one of 20 Women to Watch by the Sales Lead Management Association. She is the author of Maximizing Lead Generation: The Complete Guide for B2B Marketers, and Trade Show and Event Marketing. Ruth serves as a director of Edmund Optics, Inc. She has held senior marketing positions at Time Warner, Ziff-Davis, and IBM and holds an MBA from Columbia University.