ABM in the House: a series of conversations between Alex Olley, Co-founder of Reachdesk and Declan Mulkeen, CMO of Strategic IC, as they explore how to build an effective Account-based Marketing (ABM) programme.
While previous episodes have explored How to Redefine Your ICP, How to Build a Target Account List, Building Out the Decision Making Unit (DMU), and Focusing in on your Strategy and Goals, Episode 5 explores Building your Account-Based Marketing Playbook.
ABM in the House - Building Your Account-Based Marketing Playbook
Episode 5 - Transcript
Alex Olley, Reachdesk - Awesome, Hi Dec, Another week, another episode of ABM in the House. I see you've got some nice weather there in Spain. Sadly I'm locked up inside here because it's been pouring down over here, but how's your week been?
Declan Mulkeen, Strategic IC - Hey, Alex, good to see you again. Great, I mean, busy, as you can imagine, lots of interesting projects going on with our clients and obviously lots of interesting stuff with Reachdesk as well, using direct mail to engage with our clients and with our prospects actually. So yeah, good week.
Alex - Good man, awesome to hear it. Well, let's crack on with Episode 5. To recap, we've defined our ICP. We've built and tiered our Account List. So our Target Account List. We've identified what we call the DMU, the Decision Making Unit with our Buyer Personas within each account. We've kind of, we've agreed on our ABM strategy in which programmes are right for those Target Accounts. So Dec, what are we going to talk about today?
Declan - Well, now the kind of fun part starts really you know we've done the hard work as you said, and we built the Account-Based Marketing foundations or solid ABM foundations. And obviously, we talked quite a lot actually about Account Tiering and the importance of Account Tiering for deciding which type of ABM programme is most suitable for each Target Account. So just to refresh everyone's memory, here at the Agency at Strategic IC, we deploy One-to-many for our Tier 3 accounts. We deploy One-to-few for our Tier 2 accounts, typically in clusters of 15 to 20 accounts. And we deploy One-to-one for our Tier 1 accounts. So with that in mind, we can now start to design the channel tactics that are most suitable, most cost-effective, and that will deliver the greatest impact for each tier. How does that sound, Alex?
Alex - That sounds great. This is the fun part, right? The good news is there's
like this huge playbook that you can order from. I suppose the important piece is as we've discussed in the past, it's sort of how you orchestrate it. I think it's very easy to get lost in technology and platforms, et cetera, not actually deliver on those goals. So that orchestration piece is really key. From my experience, I have so many channels tactics, they're all valid across all programmes. Some are exclusive to only one channel, for example, some might apply to two. So how about we take a look into those channel tactics Dec?
Declan - Yeah, that sounds like a great idea. So let's remember that channel tactics were based on a number of criteria, right? So there'll be based on, your ABM objectives. Are you trying to win? Are you trying to nurture, are you trying to grow? Are you trying to change perceptions, positioning, et cetera? The channel tactic will depend on your ABM programme. Is it a One-to-many? Is it a One-to-few? Is it a One-to-one? It will also depend on where each account is in the buyer journey. You know, we've TOFU, MOFU, BOFU, no awareness, awareness, opportunity stage, et cetera. And importantly, whether the account is showing any level of intent. And then you might decide to change into what we call to promote or to demote from a One-to-many, to a One-to-few or vice versa. So as you said, quite rightly earlier, orchestration is absolutely key and getting your band to play in tune is vital for any ABM programme. So how about if we look at a One-to-many programme first and we look at, what are the most suitable tactics and particularly Alex, one of the reasons why we started this ABM in the House in light of what's been happening over the last few months, whether anything fundamental has changed that would affect your channel tactics.
Alex - Sure. Yeah, of course. Well, there are some elements that are going to change particularly in the here and now specifically because a lot of people are working from home and that actually is going to sort of roll out back as where people get back to the office.
But well let's look into the obvious one, a lot of people think that ABM is just about like display ads and obviously, it goes way beyond that. But for like a Top of Funnel approach obviously, a lot of these accounts, they're not aware of your brand or your business, right?
So you can get very clever, you can use intent data to target those accounts. Based on the target account keywords, IP, cookie-based targeting, et cetera. There are lots of tools that can help you do that. So doing what I call reverse IP engineering on those display ads and make them very personalised and relevant to those accounts, then you have the remarketing to your website business to drive further awareness and engagement. I'd say that's tactic two. A third one would be LinkedIn. LinkedIn ads, particularly if you're selling
pure B2B, specific offers or calls to action. So watch this video, download this eBook. Sometimes it could be book a demo, depends on that level of engagement that you've built.
And Social Selling is becoming quite a key tactic. I think that's the fourth one for a Top of Funnel approach. This is where your Sales Team gets involved, they use their profiles and expand their contact network and awareness in the Target Accounts. If you're not including your Sales Team, you're leaving so much money on the table, as it were. So Social Selling is becoming a really important part to the Top of Funnel sort of awareness tactics.
Does that all make sense to you Dec?
Declan - Absolutely. And I think what's really important, you mentioned obviously orchestration. Once you actually start seeing those accounts engage and obviously, ABM is all about Account Level, not Buyer Persona level. We're looking for signals of engagement and we can then decide to apply various Middle of the Funnel tactics without actually turning off any of the Top of the Funnel, because you need to continue to drive that awareness within new accounts. And also within those accounts that where you are seeing engagement.
So there are a number of tactics that we can deploy at the MOFU stage. And there are things such as, tactics such as personalised content, which is relevant to the industry, to the sector, to the challenges, to the pains of those accounts, creating insights is a valuable way of actually talking to the market. You can produce relevant success stories, case studies, what we kind of call, making the intangible, tangible, make everything that you do relatable to your Target Accounts, to their challenges and to their pains. Remember, this is not about you, right Alex? It's about your clients, your prospects, and what the problems
that they're experiencing and how potentially your product, your solution could help them. Tactic three, as you said, quite rightly your SDRs, your BDRs, your Account Executives, getting them involved when you see engagement is absolutely crucial, providing them with an armoury of content, which is relevant to those specific issues. We talked about that actually last week as well. Using personalised sequences, don't over automate, I think is a really key message here. Everything you do should be personalised. Think about each sequence that you want to create and personalise it.
And as you mentioned, LinkedIn, for particularly B2B is a fantastic tool. Where you can use obviously LinkedIn InMails. Conversational Marketing is a really interesting, relatively new release on LinkedIn, which is really worth looking at. Personalised one-to-one videos. I know you're a huge fan of that as well, via Vidyard, via Hippo Video, et cetera. We're seeing some great success with LinkedIn video, really powerful tool. Voicemails as well actually, which also we deploy through LinkedIn. And most importantly, your SDRs, your BDRs, they need to speak to the engaged accounts and to the relevant contacts within those accounts, right? Having those conversations is absolutely crucial. So I think that kind of tees us up nicely, Alex, to talk a little bit about direct mail, which I believe you know a thing or two about.
Alex - A little bit. Yeah look, direct mail, and you asked me earlier about the current climate, right? Direct mail, we've actually seen a huge surge when we talk about direct mail and gifting, so that could be E-gifting, it could also be custom boxes, notes, whatever it is that you want to send.
That's still very, very doable. You need a sort of a platform to help you with that. But for me, this is where you can make a very physical impression. We talk about ad impressions a lot. talk about creating physical impressions. Something that's a bit more tactile and tangible.
What we try and aim to do is connect the online and offline worlds, right? You can weave direct mail and gifting to support your other channel tactics. It's not sort of this one channel that you hope to get lots of responses from because it's there and in front of you, you've got to treat it holistically.
So you've got to compliment your webinars, your demo attendances, proposal reviews, door openers, et cetera. There's so much you can do, right? And I'll give you some examples of what you can do now. We miss the Exec events, right? Where there's Exec dinners that we plan as part of ABM, you can do that remotely. We are doing things with some of our customers whereby you can do like a virtual wine tasting, right? So you would use Reachdesk to send the wine, you'd get like a Sommelier, you'd all those 10 Execs. And you do like a virtual wine tasting.
That might be part of a wider event you're doing. But it's about the delivery of the item straight to their front door. It could be to support your bigger online events, right? So you might do something which is more industry-specific. And it's actually about helping drive attendance to those events, particularly those VIPs in that target account.
You can use sort of lets say, within that event itself, like create like a digital swag store, like come meet a Salesperson, and they'll send you something afterwards to sort of reward you for your time. Simple things like lunch and learns, right? E-gifting is becoming
really, really prominent. Imagine if you've got real engagement with someone and you could just say, "Hey, how about we have like a virtual lunch and learn "and then I'm going to send you some Uber eats right now." You wouldn't want to turn up hungry to a meeting with a Salesperson. But again, it's what I call the principle of reciprocity, give something, and then they will give back in return. If you do it right and make it personalised, you can do it really well.
And the final one, I sort of recommend to people, particularly for like ABM is what I call a unity campaign. How do you bring together multiple sort of Senior Execs?
We did one once where we sent a treasure chest to people and they had a combination lock on it. And the three Execs would each be sent one of the numbers of the code. And when they came together, they figured out the number, they could unlock it. And then that would lead you to the next step. Within the treasure chest, there's a QR code. You scan it and you could book a meeting through that itself, all three of you. So you can get really creative is what I'm trying to say here. And you can very much use it in the here and now too.
Declan - Well, I think I just love that, you know the way that you coin it, in terms of making a physical impression, connecting the online and offline worlds, I think is a really smart way of thinking about things, actually. So remember, I think the key thing we've talked about today in terms of the channel tactics is you're looking for engagement. And you're looking to drive engagements and you're looking for opportunities to have a conversation. And I think the key message we say to our clients, 'cause not everyone is ready to buy and that's okay. You're just looking to find those accounts and those individuals within those accounts that are looking to have a conversation, and then you can actually have your Sales Team to have those conversations and activate some kind of dialogue with those clients.
So I think, there's an awful lot more we could talk about today, Alex, but we're kind of keen to kind of, not go on too long today. So what should we do and talk about next week?
Alex - I think to be honest with you, as you say, we could keep talking about this, but let's expand the playbook a bit more next week. Let's get some more tactics in there. Let's dive a little bit deeper and maybe we'll add in some surprises for the viewers. So I'd love to kind of continue on this topic if that's all right. And keep building on that playbook.
Declan- Okay that sounds like a great idea Alex. Well, have a great weekend there and look forward to speak to you again next week.
Alex - Yeah, have an awesome weekend. And I'll speak to you next week.
Declan - Thanks, mate.