The journey to ABM is not always an easy one.
It comes with its hurdles: flat tyres, potholes, and you may even stall a few times along the way.
But the key to success lies in the preparation. Laying out your route, knowing your destination, filling up the tank, etc.
It’s about knowing where you want to be, and putting in the blood, sweat and tears to get there. And nobody knows that better than Yaagneshwaran Ganesh, Director of Marketing at Avoma.
In a recent episode of Let’s talk ABM, I had the pleasure of speaking with Yaag about Avoma’s journey to ABM and laying the groundwork for a successful program.
In the interview (full recording here) we discussed:
- The GTM strategy for a young SaaS company
- How to compete (and win) against the major players
- Why it's important to have a point of view
- What 'there' looks like for ABM
So let’s take a look at some of the key takeaways from the interview:
7 tips for your journey to ABM
1. Put yourself in front of the audience
Launching, growing and scaling your ABM program all starts from putting yourself in front of your audience and establishing a presence in the channels your accounts are using.
The first phase isn’t about landing clients. It’s about building a brand and cementing your values as a business.
Use this time to bolster your teams, differentiate your voice, and figure out what your brand has to offer that competitors lack.
This initial groundwork is like the fuel to your overarching program – without it, you’ll break down just as the journey is getting started.
“Right now is the time for us to step on the gas and put ourselves in front of the audience as much as possible and then give them the right kind of experience.” – Yaagneshwaran Ganesh, Director of Marketing at Avoma
2. Remove the friction in the buyer's journey
Whether you prefer a Product-led or Sales-led approach, the aim should always be to educate and help the customer.
Sometimes, that means sacrificing the quick wins to build a longer term relationship with an account.
The aim is to break the friction. Maybe the account doesn’t 100% understand your product. Maybe they are looking at alternatives in the market. Or maybe they’re unsure how your product or solution would fit into their wider ecosystem within the account.
Whatever that friction may be, it’s your job to smooth out the journey and make things easier for your customers.
The key is to keep every team within the loop – Customer Success, Marketing, Sales, Product and even the Account Executives.
Make sure everyone is bought into and engaged with the entire journey, and you’ll find the process is a lot more streamlined and successful as a result.
“It takes a village to win a deal. And then it takes a lifelong effort to keep the customer happy with you.” – Yaagneshwaran Ganesh, Director of Marketing at Avoma
3. Create customer-centric content
Your content drives the inbound engine. Without it, you won’t be able to drive awareness, engage your accounts, or even step foot in what is an increasingly competitive market.
But chucking out generic content won’t drive the results you desire. With the growth of digital, content is everywhere and easy to find.
To stand out, you need to produce content that others won’t. You need to be prepared to think outside the box and answer the questions that no one else is answering.
The key to good content is to not always focus on your product or brand. Customers want insight and guidance – they don’t want to always be sold to.
And ultimately, you want your team to be seen as thought leaders in your industry. Focus on educating when it comes to your content, and less on driving sales.
“We don't produce the content that is already available on the internet that people can easily find. Because at the end of the day, you need to answer the questions that your customers have in mind, that they're not able to find everywhere.” – Yaagneshwaran Ganesh, Director of Marketing at Avoma
4. Focus on building brand awareness
You can have the best ABM program out there, but if your brand is invisible, it will inevitably fall flat.
And contrary to popular belief, brand awareness is measurable – if you know what to look for.
From engagement with your content, to search volume, to customer tenure – it all ties back to your overall reputation and where you stand in the wider competitive marketplace.
Look to create standout experiences with your target accounts, provide niche content that others are lacking, and continue to drive growth through relationship-building and loyalty.
“Once people are happy in terms of their experience, then they're going to talk about you, and it continuously goes on and on from there.” – Yaagneshwaran Ganesh, Director of Marketing at Avoma
5. 'Name it, frame it, claim it'
When it comes to SaaS, there is a new solution or platform being introduced to the market every week. It’s ever-evolving, and keeping up with competitors is no easy feat.
The key is to have a point of view.
Why should a customer come to you instead of a competitor? What do you have to offer that they won’t find elsewhere?
That’s what you need to answer. And that’s what having a point of view aims to achieve.
You need a North Star that keeps you on track and in line with you vision – without it, you’ll always be looking to match up with your competitors instead of carving your own path.
Create your own voice, build stories around that, and create a brand that is distinctly, authentically ‘you’.
“If you don't have a point of view, you are always going to be looking at what your competitor is doing, and trying to match up as much as possible. And you are always going to be behind by at least a quarter or so.” – Yaagneshwaran Ganesh, Director of Marketing at Avoma
6. Have a clear execution path
ABM is all about having a clear-cut strategy to win your most-valued accounts.
It has clear execution, clear creative, and clear Sales processes to build relationships, drive engagement, and ultimately win the deal.
It also requires a shift in mindset from more inbound methods to outbound, where you have more control over the deal sizes you target.
You need the right talent in the right seats, and you need to understand your accounts and what drives them.
ABM requires more insight, more data, and more strategic thinking than any other B2B marketing tactic – but that’s also why it drives better results.
“ABM is a dedicated effort, and that means you need to have a clear plan, a clear team exclusively focused on that.” – Yaagneshwaran Ganesh, Director of Marketing at Avoma
7. Hire based on values and passion
Finding the right talent to support you on your ABM journey can be challenging. You need skill, commitment, enthusiasm and hard work to get you to the finish line – and those qualities can be hard to find.
But skills can be taught. Values and passion can’t.
The best team members are those that align with your values, are passionate about your product and are willing to work hard to bring the company’s vision to life.
Once you have the right people, you can then work on expanding skillsets and building knowledge internally.
Keen to find out more about the world of ABM? Check out our Let’s talk ABM webinar series to hear from some of the leading ABM experts on how they build their programs.