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Let’s talk ABM: 6 tips for a surround-sound ABM program

In a recent episode of Let's talk ABM, we spoke with Trinity Nguyen, VP of Marketing at UserGems, about adopting a surround-sound approach to ABM. Here we summarize the key takeaways.

Strategy   |   ABM

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Nicky Kemp

strategicabm 550 60

Nov 16 2023 - 8min Read Date published: Date modified: 2023-11-16


Account-based Marketing is all about focus. Focus on the customers - current and future - that matter most to you.  

No more ‘spray and pray’, but hyper-targeted, hyper-personalized campaigns that are impossible to ignore.

But for full effect, you need to go beyond a singular channel. You need to approach your target accounts from all angles – you can’t risk slipping under the radar. 

In a recent episode of Let’s talk ABM, we had the pleasure of speaking with Trinity Nguyen, VP of Marketing at UserGems, about her ABM journey and unique surround-sound approach.

In the interview (full recording here) we discussed:

  • What Champion Tracking is
  • Why multi-threading is key to account success
  • Trinity’s rationale for SDR reporting to Marketing
  • How to make the intangible tangible

So let’s dive into some of Trinity’s top ABM tips and tricks.


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6 tips for surround-sound ABM

1. Learn to prioritize

Every ABM journey looks different. 

For some, you might have your entire journey mapped out in advance, and know exactly where you’re heading. For others, you might start from scratch, and work it out as you go.

Whatever your ABM experience, you need to learn to prioritize to get the most out of your budget – however big or small.

The beauty of ABM is it allows you to be laser-focused in your approach, honing in on only those highest-value accounts. That’s precisely where you should focus your time, money, and resources.

Account-based Marketing is not about ‘spray and pray’ tactics. You need to be very specific about where you want your investments to go – and how to optimize your spending for the most significant ROI.

“The thinking was just simply: We don't have a lot of resources; how do I identify the best-fit accounts, and go after those only, to optimize our spend? And because of that, it makes sense for us to have the SDR involved.” – Trinity Nguyen, VP of Marketing at UserGems

2. Cut through the noise

In an over-saturated market, standing out from the crowd is the biggest challenge. You need to be different. You need the ‘WOW!’ factor.

Luckily, Account-based Marketing is centered around achieving exactly that.

Personalization is your secret weapon. Not in a creepy stalker way. But just the right level of personalization that will have your customers thinking: “Wow! These guys get it. They understand me.”

Being able to show your target accounts that you’ve done your research, that you empathize with their situation, and that you understand how their brain ticks – that’s what helps you cut through the noise.

“At the beginning, I think it makes sense to just focus on what makes your buyers tick. How do you best communicate your value? And do it at a really small scale, and learn and scale from there.” – Trinity Nguyen, VP of Marketing at UserGems



3. Don't be afraid to be more human

Sometimes, the best Marketing isn’t decked out with extravagant creative, mind-blowing copy and meticulous strategy. Sometimes, the best Marketing is just what strikes a chord.

And sometimes, that means stepping away from highly professional complexity and instead opting for something more simple. Something human.

Any avid LinkedIn-ers might have noticed a sudden uptick in less corporate content. More short videos filmed on mobiles, more selfies, more ‘brain dump’ posts...

And interestingly, the algorithm loves it! Why? Because it catches people’s attention. It’s not another sponsored ad taking up your feed. It’s authentic.

In a world where everything is online and AI is on the rise, it’s all too easy to edit, filter and modify what you share. That’s why it’s the unfiltered, authentic content that stands out. It’s genuine and focuses more on providing value than it does looking ‘flashy’.

When digitalization and automation start taking over, it’s humanity that prevails!

“I think there's a tendency to always want to over-polish things. And we want to make things look beautiful – whether it's a video or whatever it is. But I think the B2C market is leading the way in using more ‘downgraded’, authentic content, and I'd like to see a lot more of that in the B2B world.” – Declan Mulkeen, CMO at strategicabm

4. Adopt a multi-threaded approach

No buying decision is ever made by a single decision-maker. The buying group is often a tangled web of different departments – and to close the deal, you need to win over each stakeholder.

How? By exploring a multi-threaded approach.

The average buying group has now increased by 33%, which means you need to be prepared to touch upon multiple personae, each with unique challenges and priorities.

The key is to run a campaign that ties each touchpoint together. Think of it like leaving breadcrumbs for the account to follow. The goal is to get each department within the target account to talk about you.

So give them something to talk about. 

“When an opportunity is created, we don't stop running ads. We actually start running ads to all these accounts and tell them, like: ‘Hey, Sales! Someone in your team's talking to us…’ And we then nurture every persona until we reach closed-won, and then the ads stop.” – Trinity Nguyen, VP of Marketing at UserGems

5. Use Dark Social

How do you use something if you can’t see it? You have to be ready to feel your way through the dark!

Dark Social is a major buzzword in the B2B community – and understandably. When so much of what happens within the buyer’s journey occurs behind closed doors, how can you assess what is and isn’t working in your program?

Rather than fighting with Dark Social and trying to work out a way to illuminate it, your best bet is to find a way to leverage it – and ‘feel your way!’

If you can create a campaign that stimulates the Dark Funnel – that is made with the intention of provoking your target audience and starting conversations offline – you can manipulate it to work in your favor.

You don’t always need to measure it. But if you can control it, tame it, and feel your way to use it to your advantage – then you’ll be primed for success!

“When the term 'Dark Funnel' came out, when we all see it in communities and whatnot, 
always my number one question is: How do I manufacture Dark Funnel or Dark Social? 'Cause we're a new company, right? So how do we get people to talk about us?” – Trinity Nguyen, VP of Marketing at UserGems

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6. Be prepared to shift mindsets

Account-based Marketing is in a league of its own. It’s not Demand Gen or Lead Gen. It’s not ‘traditional Marketing’. It’s a whole new strategy – and as such, it requires a whole new way of thinking.

It’s not a mindset you’ll be able to adopt overnight. You need to lay the foundations and build from the ground up. And that starts with your teams.

De-programming potentially years' worth of prior experience, knowledge, and expertise across your organization won’t be easy. But the key is to start small.

Aim to educate, train, and enrich every department so they understand exactly what ABM is, what it entails, and what is required from them to ensure success. Taking the time to educate from the outset will avoid unnecessary hurdles later down the road.

“It's not a campaign, it's not a program; it's a mindset. If you don't have that mindset from the leadership standpoint, it's impossible to orchestrate teams together so they move in lockstep when everyone has their own priorities and agenda.” – Trinity Nguyen, VP of Marketing at UserGems

Ready to take the next step on your ABM journey? Check out our brand new podcast series, ABM Under the Hood, where our Heads of ABM dive into the inner workings of the ABM machine. 

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