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28 min read

ABM Readiness, Measurement, and Winning Tactics

Award-winning ABM strategist shares his decade-long journey with ABM and advice for getting started or improving your programs. 


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Joe Quinn, Senior Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Manager at Salesforce-Tableau and former ABM Leader at NI (National Instruments) has spent the past decade learning, inventing, measuring, and improving on all things ABM. Joe and his team at NI were recognized with an ABM Program of the Year award by the Flip my Funnel organization, and he's tasked with scaling ABM marketing efforts at Salesforce-Tableau.

Many companies may think they need to be doing ABM given how buzzy it is in our marketing world, but here are a few criteria Joe suggests using to assess whether or not your organization is ready for ABM:

  • Are there dedicated sales resources to named accounts? Are those accounts tiered?
  • Is executive leadership on board with ABM? 
  • Is there a salesperson (or salespeople) willing to devote time and energy as a partner with marketing?
  • Does the company recognize and support resource tradeoffs between volume-based lead generation versus strategic relationship development?

If all signs look positive, Joe suggests a multi-phase ABM framework with associated metrics, including account research and prioritization, content development, tailored tactical execution, and closed-loop reporting.

During the episode Joe shares some of his award-winning ABM tactics, including case study briefs, customized LinkedIn introductions from Account Managers, and contact acquisition. We also touch on the role of technology to help enhance, automate and measure ABM initiatives -- and when these should and should not integrate into the CRM or other platforms in use.




Hey, everyone. On today's episode, I'm joined by the senior ABM manager at Salesforce to boot, and he was also formerly the ABM really founder and leader at National Instruments and now called NI. Okay. And on this episode, we'll cover lots of ground, both for newbies to ABM as well as people looking to take their program to the next level. So if you're wondering how to think more strategically about how you approach ABM, how you should measure your ABM efforts, or to get your executive team and salespeople on board, there's something for everyone on this episode. If you're commuting while you're listening, it better be a long one because this is a bit of a lengthy episode, but we just couldn't stop talking about ABM. It's a good one. Let's do this.

Welcome to Content Marketing, Engineered. Your source for building trust and generating demand with technical content. Here is your host, Wendy Covey.

Hi, and welcome to Content Marketing, Engineered. On each episode, I'll break down an industry trend challenge or best practice in reaching technical audiences. You'll meet colleagues, friends, and clients of mine who will stop by to share their stories, and I hope that you leave each episode feeling inspired and ready to take action. Before we jump in, I'd like to give a brief shout out to my agency, TREW Marketing. TREW is a full service agency located in beautiful Austin, Texas, serving highly technical companies. For more information, visit and now on with our podcast.

Hi, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Content Marketing Engineered. Today I'm joined by Joe Quinn. He has been a leader in account based marketing for over a decade, and we go way back. But you'll hear all about that. So welcome to the show, Joe.

Thank you, Wendy. It's good to be here.

And when we got to know each other, you had just freshly come in to National Instruments, which is now, of course, and I to work with me in a fledgling brand new area of the business that we called at the time, North American Regional Marketing. But really, that's like field marketing, right? To the rest of the world, we just had to give it a cool name, I guess.


I can't help but what year is that, Joe? Do you remember? Just to date ourselves.

I think it's 2003. Yeah, it was a while ago.

Okay. And then you quickly took on that whole group and took it to the next level. So maybe before we dive into our subject today on ABM, just maybe a little description, because to me, this is sort of like the beginning of formal Adm, which you were doing and where you evolved with this Department. Could you just walk me through that history?

Oh, absolutely. So when I came on board, when you hired me, you hired me for the seminar manager and Ashley Instruments, and then I took over the Webinar program. And really what I was doing with the team was really supporting the Salesforce. They wanted to do a lot of accounts in their territories. I mean, a lot of the seminars in their territories and some of those were out of accounts. And then the more that the field kept reaching out to me asking, well, can you do this trade show with me? Can you produce some content for me? It seemed like more and more we were getting very direct requests and that's really like you were saying was the field marketing support at the time. And we were doing so many things you can imagine. We were doing events and emails and we were doing content generation and some partner marketing activities that it was just too much. And so I remember coming to you and saying, hey, Wendy, the area that seems to have the most impact is when we actually point our efforts to an account and we partner with the account and the salesperson to do some sort of marketing.

And of course, when it's so controlled, it's a lot easier to measure. And I think that also you went into it. And so I put together the proposal to you and I said, hey, can we carve out of our existing resources, some resources just to work on the accounts? And I think that was the very early days of us experimenting with trying to do account based marketing.

How could I forget the metamorphosis of seminars into this? Boy, Joe, I just think about you as forever the regional marketing ABM guys. So I just put that part out of my mind because to me, it just very quickly rolled into one thing. And boy, did you thrive in that role and do so many amazing things. In fact, didn't you win a pretty prestigious award during that time?

Yes, when we first started, we were some of the early people doing account based marketing. To be quite honest, we weren't really sure what we were doing. And when we started hearing the word account based marketing, it was really a buzzword. And so we started looking around to see who else is doing it. And we learned about Sirius decisions at the time and they actually had some case studies and just some very simple, simple how to guide. So we reached out to them and said, hey, we want to start kind of working with you on some of the frameworks, the science behind ABM. And we started really partnering with them to bring their theories and conceptual activities about ABM. How do you really bring it to life? And what is really nice is that I have a smart team around me. We only have like four people doing this and they had other efforts in marketing as well. And we were able to bring the serious decisions, some of the work we were doing, and they matched it up with some of their concepts. And we also partnered to kind of evolve their concepts as well.

And so you'll see a lot of early case studies and serious decisions we were asked to present at their conferences. And then shortly after that, flip my funnel, which is a large ABM community. Right. Instead of going for the math and coming down to the one or two qualified accounts or leads, they start with the qualified accounts. So they're flipping the funnel. And we started working with them to share our programs. And they were quite impressed in the early days of forming that community. And that's who recognized us as ABM National Program of the Year, which was quite an honor. It was a little black tie event, and I was so excited to accept the work on behalf of the entire team at National Instruments and all the supporting players and our sellers who really empowered us to do great work.

Oh, yes, it was such a team.


Team work. I love that you said I had this small group. There were only four of us, and there's many people listening. They're going for I'm trying to do this with maybe a quarter of one person's time. But to be fair, you're supporting a pretty large organization at the time with aggressive growth goals and all that. Joe, do you believe ABM can be done at any size?

Oh, absolutely. And that's one of the nice things. And one of my pieces of advice at the end is that also to network. And I've met people who are not only trying to do Adm, but they also run their entire marketing. So it's like one person doing everything. That's pretty common. And it's pretty rare that you actually get a dedicated resource for Adm unless you're in a really large marketing organization that can afford to dedicate the resource. When we first started, we didn't really have budget and we really did everything ourselves. It was very scrappy. And also, too, we weren't sure how it was going to impact, kind of like the mass marketing. And so the organization was kind of hesitant to say, okay, we want to give an email to an account. Well, that's going to take away an email resource for all of the United States. So why would we do that? And it started getting to a quality versus quantity kind of conversation. And so I truly believe that one person can do what they can with ABM. And whatever impact you have just reset kind of your expectations a little bit.

You might not have as much volume when you do some of the marketing activities, but part of the kind of assumption with ABM is that you should have a little bit more impact. So if you're going to generate opportunities or pipeline or engagement, those values should be higher. And the quality of those engagements and relationships should be probably at a higher level of the organization than if you were kind of casting in that wide open and just trying to get a volume of people into your organization makes sense.

Well, now that we're getting into it, both strategy and subraft tax, let's start with a simple question. That may not sound so simple, but how do you define ABM?

This has been the bane of my existence.

Kind of us. Do I get that? It's not a simple question, is it?

It isn't. And it's something like sales enablement. It means so many different things to so many different people. And I thought it was really important to kind of define what we were doing at the very beginning with our sales leadership, our sellers. And looking back, I was not smart enough for the time to realize this, but looking back, it just was really difficult to get a really great kind of definition. And so to internal folks on the marketing organization and marketing leadership, basically, I explained ABM as that you have to have a set of accounts so they have to be defined. You just can't go out there with your unknown universe. You really do have to know which accounts you're going after. You have to use some sort of insight from those accounts, whether it's research or whether it's activity. And then you have to align to the seller who is working those accounts because you have to understand what the sales goals are at those accounts. And then you configure your marketing. You can't afford to create very specific marketing for each account. You don't have enough resources, you don't have enough time. So you have to take the marketing you're already doing for your company, match it with those account insights and those sales account plans, and configure the marketing against that account.

Okay, so it's kind of a long definition, but it's account insights, aligning with the sales account objectives and then configuring the marketing to be deployed now to sales and to sellers and sales leadership. Nowadays, what I say is a very simplified version. You're going to get extra marketing resources and they're going to be pointed at your accounts to help your account managers drive pipeline. And you should expect more pipeline and more impactful marketing. And they're not going to argue with that.

No. Every salesperson will raise their hand at that.

Exactly right.

So when you were describing that, it made me think of the 80 20 rule. Right. And I know that's very simplistic, but could you give a technical example of what you said about you can't afford to completely customize everything, but you want to be account centric with it. So what's just one example.

So a lot of people think that if you create like special web landing pages with the account information or if you kind of make sure that your email templates have their names, some of this can be done dynamically populated, which is great. If you can do that, great. But you really don't need that. What we found, one of the best resources was that we tried to capture what people were doing with our tools at some of these accounts. The accounts that we worked on were some of the largest global brands in the world. But if you think about it, you're marketing to a person. And so you have to really just figure out what does that person need to see from your company and how often do they need to see it? And our kind of call to action was getting a visit with our sales account executive because really with the content configuration, you can't have every piece of content. It's going to have to come down to talk to an expert, talk to our account manager, talk to your salesperson who will be able to have a two way dialogue about all your questions.

Right. So some of the easiest things that we did is we tried to capture all around the United States for these large companies what they were doing with our tools. And some of the tools are pretty simple, pretty basic, and then some of them were pretty large sized. And so we captured internal case studies. And the way that we got those is that we looked at our sales data and we basically looked at the largest sales wins that these accounts had. And we went to the sales account manager. I said, would you mind just introducing us to this person so that we can just get a write up like a paragraph? And we were able to collect these internal case studies and our sales account manager would use those when they talk to new people. And we also looked at the database and we said, okay, do we have the right people for sellers to talk to? We are trying to get director levels and above people who can make decisions. Right. But a lot of our existing marketing was bringing in staff level engineer.

Specifier kind of people.

Exactly. The people who are using the tools of the people who are making the decisions on what tools to use. So one of the first things that we did is we went and we did contact acquisition. So we did a contact assessment to make sure that the accounts had a good number of decision makers. And if they didn't, then what we did is we actually purchased contacts or we use LinkedIn and mail. And we actually just did a very simple text based email that says we have a dedicated resource that is going to be able to partner with you on your accounts and would like to set up a 15 minutes introductory Zoom call to see if you could take advantage of some of the investments that your company has already made at other locations. And those account intro emails, all you're doing is you're customizing it by the person's name and the account and you're putting in your sales person's name. Those produce so many great visits. Some people said, oh, I was needing to reach out to you. Some people said, oh, we need to reorder that right there. Kickstarted everything. So when I talk about configuring kind of marketing for these accounts, the 80 20 rule, I think it's important to kind of reference them by name.

If you have a title, definitely talk about what you think they're doing, and then if you can get content that you generate, that's already happening at their account, that works really well, too.

Yeah. Because it's not spammy. Right. It's not fluff. No. We're actually already there. Look at your colleague in this other division. Go talk to them.

Exactly. And we have dedicated resources. Well, it's a little bit of marketing because it wasn't like one person was sitting there only working on one account. They probably either had five accounts or they had ten accounts, but they were the go to person for that account. So we would refer to them as a dedicated resource. And we wouldn't use like a seller or account manager. We would talk about that. They were your engineering resource for your account.

So the marketing person I'm going to repeat that back. So the marketing person became that account point of contact and the technical salesperson became a technical resource.

Well, what we did is we aligned first with the sales account plan, and the sales account manager would identify the people that he or she needed to go and actually make introductions to. So it's kind of expanding with inside the account. And once we had the kind of like the level of the field of play. Right. Marketing took the first shot and said we would go ahead and do these intro emails. And it looks like it was coming from the account manager. It was very text based.


And it was programmed to send to our email system, and the account based marketer got all the replies because then what we would do is we use at the time we use Salesforce. And so we set up a task in Salesforce to send the account manager on the visit. But they already knew that we were doing this. They already expected that we were going to get hit. And so it was a handshake of the strategy. There was a handshake on the execution, and then they were the ones who followed up, and then we were able to tag it in the system to get the credit.

Yeah. Okay. I have another question for you. So prior to this, you mentioned seminars, and that was almost abused. And I at the time, there were so many all the time, everywhere. Roi. Sometimes it's questionable, other times it works really well. And then, of course, with the pandemic, it became a thing of you couldn't do it. So as we look forward and these past few years, people were kind of over emailed to and LinkedIn has become more and more abused. Do you see a comeback for some of these seminars, or do you think that people are less receptive of that type of marketing?

Oh, absolutely. I think there's a time and place for all the media, and if we add more to our toolbox, we'll figure out which ones make the most sense, in which interactions. But I will say, looking back over my experience of working with accounts, the accounts that the account based marketing programs that I've been involved with, there's usually, like three types of account based marketing. One is one to one where you have an account based marketer working on one account with an account based marketing plan. And then there's one to few where you find commonalities. Maybe you have ten or 20 accounts. Maybe there are accounts that need to buy XYZ, or there are accounts that have just reached the X dollar amount in revenue with your company. There's some common theme. So it's one to few, and you can do programs that are thematic across there. And then there's one to many, which is getting kind of close to mass marketing. So in my experience with the face to face, the accounts that I've been working on are one to one and one to few, and the expectations are higher. They do want to come to your flagship events, but they also want you to bring your leadership to their account site.


And the last two years, obviously, it's been virtually we've had to pivot in a virtual setting. But now that our events are coming back, so this year we're bringing back events that we canceled the last two years. We are actually having account experiences built into those flagship events. One of the biggest ones we used to do where I used to work is because it would attract so many people from around the world. We would set up an account meeting for these accounts on site at these flagships events. That was just a meeting for them. So we gave them their meeting room. We gave them lunch and catering. We brought our highest executive to come in and say Hi. And then those stories that we collected, those use cases, they would present one or two of those, so they would share their work, and they were very proud about what they were doing. And other people would say, oh, you know what? I have that same challenge in my group. I want to talk to you later. And then we would have a kind of a future discussion about what's on a roadmap. What are we going to be offering in the next six to twelve months?

So they felt special. Right. And so those face to face opportunities, whether they're in a digital environment, because that's what we had to do. Whether they're built into a flagship moment like your user conference or your technical conference, or whether you have to bring that event to their account site, I think are extremely, extremely important. And I do see them coming back.

Yeah. Well, thank you for just weighing in on those tactics. And I really find that interesting to hear you break down ABM by the one to one, one to few and one too many. So if I'm a person listening or watching and I haven't done any formal ABM programs yet, where would you suggest they start? Would they start with one of those buckets or is there a different framework that they should use to apply to their company?

Right. So I would first give the recommendation to have the conversation with your leadership because you want to make sure that your marketing leadership kind of wants this to happen so that you're supported. Right. And then it's just as important that the sales leadership knows that this is going to be a pilot so that as you interact with the salesperson on these accounts, that is not coming out of the blue and that you will be supported if there's some top down alignment.

Supportive salesperson or sales team, I would assume?

Oh, absolutely. That's one of our criteria. When we first started, we wanted to work with our best sales people. I'll tell you a little bit more about that in a minute. But where else I would start is I would look at an ABM certification program. Some of these are expensive, but some of them you can see if it fits your budget or not. But it's really important to understand the science behind ABM before you start throwing tactics that account based marketing program, because there really is a lot about account selection. Just because Sales says it's an important account, it may not be a fit for ABM. There is about assessing an account from a marketing perspective, how to align with a sales account plan, how to create your own account based marketing plan, how do you actually deploy and what can you expect? How do you measure your work and then how do you measure the impact over a period of time? And you learn these different things through like a serious decisions or ITSSA certification. If you can't invest in a certification, there's a few books out there. You can just Google the book or you can join a community like Flip.

My Funnel is a great community and just network at a place where a lot of like minded Admirals will come together and there will be people who haven't ever done it and they want to do it. And then there's going to be people who have done it for years. And so it's a good place to kind of join and network online to see what you can learn about ABM. So those would be some of the places I'd start. And as you kick it off, I would use as a criteria work with your best sales people? Absolutely. Because they are going to be spending time with you and their return on investment is going to be very little at the beginning. And every minute they spend with you is going to be a minute that they could be spending, generating revenue at their account. But your best sales people will understand the investment they're making today is going to pay off tomorrow. And they're going to be the ones who are going to invite you to listen in to their sales calls. Hopefully, they'll invite you to their account one day. They will invite you to their account reviews.

With their leadership, their opportunity reviews, they'll introduce you to people at the account, which is extremely important to us. So work with your best salespeople because they're going to be the ones that are going to partner with you the most and you'll be able to get the most information from them.

Yeah. And they'll be your biggest advocate when you want to roll it out to more territories. Right.

That's exactly what happened with us, is we picked our best sales people who would evangelize our work, because the seller telling another seller, hey, these account based marketers have something, and they actually helped me generate pipeline or achieve my account objective. That's the best way to do that. And then you don't have to worry about too many people knocking at your door.

Right. Well, I know that at Ni, you came from a place of trust and of value because you went from the seminar program, which the Salesforce highly valued, and then went into piloting this and picking the right people. But then you left an eye and you went over to Salesforce Tableau, and there you didn't necessarily know the dynamics as well within your organization. And you're new. And so how did you navigate that? Did you walk into an existing program or were you introducing that to tableau?

Great question. So, yes, most of my experiences, almost all my experience has been from National Instruments, and I've also worked with other companies just out of the kindness of our heart, sharing best practices. They would hear us speaking at events and they would come to an eye and we'd have like a workshop. So I learned a lot from what they were doing and coming into this new environment. They had piloted Adm on the tableau side, so Salesforce purchased tableau. So we're in acquisition, and the Salesforce team has been doing Adm for about five years. The Tableau team experimented it in the last year, year and a half. You can imagine during COVID, it's been quite difficult to kind of get a footing because a lot of different competing priorities are just trying to run your business. Right. And so based on my experience in National Instruments and being able to scale ABM, they asked me to come in and assess their program and try to see what I can do based on my past experience. And what I'm walking into is an environment with a great trust culture, which is great, very similar to national.

I sought that out when I was going through my interview process. And it's a matter of understanding how to bring everything that could be done in such a large organization to figuring out what are the first things that need to be done. I think that when I have the conversations, people are very excited that I have experience bringing into ABM, but I also feel that they are expecting that that experience is going to be applied to them right away, and that's not going to be the case. So what I'm doing right now is I'm assessing, I'm listening. Actually, I have 21 accounts that I'm kind of diving into, and I'm looking at their account plans and their account research, and then I'm going to come back to the organization and make a recommendation of what are the first programs that I think need to be put in place. I have a lot to learn. I'm excited because I do think there'll be a lot of opportunity, but it's going to take a while for me to kind of get all my input so that I can actually come up with a plan on how we're going to roll out one to few account based marketing.

Yeah. Fair. It struck me, as you were describing, that of a professional who has been both a salesperson and a marketer would do really well with this, I would think, because to understand walking that salesperson shoes and understand sales based tactics that are used could only be beneficial.

Extremely. And I think as I went through the years of actually recruiting Admir, I did look to see someone who has supported a sales organization in the past in any capacity to being able to speak their language, to understand their rhythm and motion about, okay, I'm going to do my weekly planning on Monday of who I'm going to visit. I'm going to do my weekly opportunity review with my manager and my pipeline. These are all seller actions which you need to have an appreciation for so that you can connect into their workflow. And I find that that's a really good experience to have when you're doing admit, it doesn't mean that if you haven't worked with sales, you can't be an ABM. But I do think that you should spend the time to invest in a salesperson's activities. We also went through the sales training, so we understood what they were being asked to do by their managers. And also, more importantly, where can we support that? And I really think that that gives you a, a of kind leg up on being able to deploy ABM because you really know where it sits in the mind of a seller.

Yeah. Makes sense. Another thing that has really evolved since you started doing Abmus stuff a decade ago is the role of technology to support this. And even with whole software platforms just dedicated to ABM, so can you speak to how that technology helped you do your job better or maybe became a distraction in some ways? I don't know. It'd be interesting. Your experiences.

Yes. And yes, when we first started, there wasn't a lot of Adm technology, but there were a lot of companies trying to roll out Adm technology. So we had vendors coming out of the woodwork to kind of talk with us because we were on speaking and our name, we were recognized with the program of the year. And so a lot of ABM vendors tried to speak with us about the technology, and it became overwhelming to begin with. To be quite honest, a lot of their platforms were not all baked out because they were still building their companies, and so many of them had similar value propositions and similar tools. And we got to a place where we said, look, we're not going to even entertain vendor conversations until we understand our strategies and what we need our ABM program to do. And so that really did kind of put it to the side, because if you're looking at a tool before you know your strategy, then that's not a good place to be.

Don't automate processes that don't exist.

Exactly. And then as time went on, we did learn of vendors that were doing some pretty innovative things, and we were able to actually partner with a few of them to kind of they knew our program was advanced in order to fill certain objectives that we had. And then over time, we had our strategy in place. And so what we did is we actually looked at the account based marketing objectives that we were trying to go after, and we wanted to see first we assessed our existing markets and stack. So we worked with our marketing operations team, which is a small group of people to say, okay, what are the tools in house that we currently have that we could be using that we just haven't used yet? That's where we started. And then what we did, because some of those there were add ons and some things weren't turned on. And so we started with what we had already, and that got us a couple of things, but then there were some pretty specific technologies, and the agreement that we had is that we would actually use technology that didn't integrate upfront with our Mark tech stack.

But then it was able to be incorporated when it was like content capture or kind of engagement touch, it did actually get into our reporting and analytics. So we started kind of like we call it ouching, kind of moving down the line approach, where we went from turning on what we had and then actually expanding the kind of standalone functions. And when you look at technology, it's everything from contact research, which really didn't need to go into the Martex stack. We got a lot of our executive profiles. We did our contact acquisition. We were able to import them into our CRM. We only imported the ones that actually responded to the first outreach so that we weren't flooding our system with names that we didn't know how valid they were. We started using tools that were instead of our email, we replaced them with video tools for engagement to be able to customize those. When we say configure the content, it was easy to configure content by placing those case studies in or a screenshot of some of the things that we were doing with some of these accounts. So then we went to kind of stand alone technologies.

Now, the environment that I'm in now, it's a little different because there's a lot of agencies that they worked with in the past. And so some of the work will be kind of outsourced to agencies, and then some of it will be with the existing infrastructure that's in place.

Interesting. Well, it's been fun to watch all of these platforms come on board and just see all of the innovation, even on the advertising side in particular, just, wow, you can do all of that in that tool. So for those listening, if you haven't looked at some of these ABM technologies, go do some research, because there's some pretty cool stuff out there.

I think one of the ones that I became most excited about was there's IP recognition has been around for a while, and the websites with website pixels. And so it's very easy to identify at what we call the master account. So the largest hierarchy of your account structure, and you can recognize by reverse IP what's the account that's coming to your website. So it's very easy to then have a place on your website that dynamically populates content that's for that account. We did that a lot for our online kind of event experiences because it didn't really matter where the person was. If it was Company ABC, then it would recognize the IP address. And then we had a space on the top of our website that said, don't miss out. The account event at Company ABC taking place March 22. Register now. So that was very early. Some of the earliest technology we use to kind of do personalization by account. Another one is the Intent score, intent monitoring, which is some platforms. There's a lot of nuances there. I think the companies who have the technology may oversell it when it comes down to it, but there is some goodness in there.

But just be careful what you're buying and how it really works to see if it's going to be actionable enough for you to be able to really get down to specific account objectives at the macro. When it comes to an account view, it's great. But if you're trying to go after one division or one location of a company or something that's kind of newer with your company, it gets a little bit difficult to really use those intense scores for the wheels start to come off a little bit on those.

And of course, you have wanting to be as tailored as possible. But then all the Privacy restrictions that are going up, not down. And so it's tough. Right. Trying to balance what you can do today might not be what you can do tomorrow. And really reading between the lines, like you say.

Yes, very much so.

Yeah. Well, quickly, what challenges have you experienced that maybe we haven't touched on yet?

I think one of them is just selling the concept of the organization. We did talk about that having a good definition is another one. A challenge from sellers is you've got the sellers who have always been making their quota by themselves, and sometimes they don't think that marketing can really help them or what marketing gives them isn't good enough for what they're trying to sell today, tomorrow. And so you get sellers that pretty much aren't working with you, and then you have the other side of the story of the sellers that want everything. And so you get a lot of requests. I think that for me, when we first started, if the seller couldn't articulate their account objectives, that was a red flag.


Because you really couldn't map into let me help you. I just want a lot of events and I want a lot of give me a bunch of names. So those were challenges. I also think the challenge is I think that depending on who does your marketing, it's really for example, we had an advertising person, we have a small team. I came from a larger organization. We had an email group, we have an events group. Just trying to kind of ask for their support was challenging because once again, they're not set up to do these micro challenges. And I think that whether you're a Department or you're an army of one, you're going to find it challenging to understand where you're going to spend your time. Like, is it worth getting 1000 contacts down a funnel that converts at a certain percentage or that takes the same amount of time of trying to engage three decision makers and you get one, and it might take sales three, 6912 months to turn it into something. And I think that you have to start somewhere. Right. And when you start with something and you track and you measure it, that is I think that's a good approach.

I do think also, too, one of the biggest challenges is that measurement. I wouldn't have learned this if I didn't do the certification, but we based our measurement system on a very simple way to measure account based marketing. The first was readiness. And I had never heard of a readiness metric. And it was a way to tell your organization that you're doing something, but you don't have like leads or contacts or revenue or pipeline yet, but you're getting ready for that. So some of the ready metrics that we first went out with was in the first 30 days, how many account plans do we review? How many accounts do we select for Adm? How many contact assessments did we do with these accounts to understand if we had the right contacts, how many contact purchases we do? So that was like in the first 30, 60 days, and we were able to actually list those out as one of our metrics to just show kind of how we're getting ready for these things. Then the second one was the actual activity that we did. So those account intro emails, like, how many do we do, how many events do we sponsor?

Like, did we support how many emails to the accounts that we send out? So that was the activity. Then the third metric was basically the output. What happened from the activity? So how many people showed up to the event? How many people responded to the intro email? Right. And then the fourth one was the impact. So of those people that were engaged, did they ever open opportunities with the Salesforce and did the Salesforce ever close those opportunities? Well, that's going to come a little bit later, depending on your sales cycle. So in the meantime, I think it's really important to start with readiness and communicate that like every quarter to get in front of your sellers and your manager or whoever your stakeholders are and say, okay, here's what we've done in the last 30 or 60 days. Right, readiness. Here are some of the activities that went out the door. Here's what those activities produce the output and then keep track of the impact. And over time, your impact numbers will start going up.

What an excellent way to of setting expectations of, hey, if you're looking for people asking for a quote here in the first 90 days ain't going to happen, right? Exactly what we are doing and handshaking that, yes, that's appropriate to spend resources on, let's go forward with that. I'm really glad you brought that up.

And I think it also helps with the education, too, because you could say we did that event and people are going to ask how many leads did you get? Like how many contacts came? And you can answer that question and you could say 30, and then you can also say that was the output. But we haven't got the impact because those 30 people that we want to open opportunities, the sellers haven't started their conversations yet. So that was the output. But our impact isn't there yet because we sell more work to do. Right. And so it helps us to not only set the expectations, but also to educate.

Yeah, we're a team here. If the sales guy doesn't do their job, then or sales Gal. Well, I know we're running out of time here, but I have to ask this question. So you mentioned the marketer of one. And we have quite a few of those that follow this podcast. And so for that marketer of One listening and they're getting excited and thinking, oh, I want to do. I want to do some of this and maybe I'll consider that certification. Is there a certain average sales price where this becomes a more valuable action to take or other criteria about the business that make them more appropriate for ABM or less, in your opinion?

Yeah. So that's a great question. I think it depends on it's all relative. Right. So one of the easiest places is hopefully you have some sort of tiering of your accounts. Typically, people have accounts that are like critical for the business to invest in because they're going to provide the most revenue today or soon in the future. And then at the other end of the spectrum, you're going to have your mass marketing accounts that you hope that they buy, maybe transactionally online all the time. And you want to keep getting as many of those new logos and repeat business. So I do think at the first place, you can kind of move towards the top of those accounts like the ones that are most strategic. You also want to look at the accounts where seller resources are applied. So if you have a seller that is pioneering 1000, like a book of accounts or a BDR that's calling into 1000 book of accounts, that's probably not going to be a place where you're going to be able to do ABM.

Makes sense.

If you have a seller that has a book of accounts of one or ten or 20.


Those are better kind of the right environments to do that.


So dollar size will be relative to that. Our average sale size was transactional and excellent instruments. And actually the ones that we were working on were anywhere from 50K to a million opportunities that we were finding and uncovering for the sellers.



That's a good data point. Well, what parting advice do you have? You've given so much advice. This is just jam packed with information and I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge. So last parting advice, anything we didn't cover today?

Well, one thing and this I have no Besides just wanting to share. When I first started Adm, a lot of people were asking, show me what it is, tell me what you do and what you've done. My LinkedIn profile has some articles that I wrote. They're not like the best graphically because I think, I don't know, I use Word and convert them to PDF. I should have probably engaged through they help me all of this, but they're very basic. They have really good tangible information on them about how to align with sales, where to start, what to do with your account selection. They're probably like eight years old, but they really are practical articles. And I think that there are some really good, just very simple tidbits of how to take first steps. And like I said, I have no vested interest. I'm not selling anything. I'm just sharing my expertise. I would love for people to check it out on my LinkedIn profile and I am always open for any conversation about ABM because every time I give and share I always learn something and then it makes me a better compact marketer.

Awesome. Thank you so much. Joe, how can people find you on LinkedIn?

It's Linkedinjillandaustex because I live in Austin, Texas and so that's the best way to find me and Joequin at Salesforce tableau.

All right. Well, thank you so much for being on the show today. I really appreciate it.

I appreciate it too. Take care.

Wendy, thanks for joining me today on content marketing engineered for show notes including links to Resources visit Podcast While there you can subscribe to our blog and our newsletter and order a copy of my book contentmarketingengineer here. Also, I would love your reviews on this podcast so please when you get a chance, subscribe and leave me a review on your favorite podcast subscription Platform thanks.

Wendy Covey

Wendy Covey is a CEO, a technical marketing leader, author of Content Marketing, Engineered, one of The Wall Street Journal’s 10 Most Innovative Entrepreneurs in America, and she holds a Texas fishing record. She resides in a small Hill Country town southwest of Austin, Texas, where she enjoys outdoor adventures with her family.

About TREW Marketing

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