- When Fuze began its ABM journey, the company worked with Demandbase to access rich behavioral and engagement information about its prospects and customers.
- After building a Target Account Program, Fuze began testing the waters with one-to-one ABM tactics to zero in on enterprise brands. Before long, the challenge became scaling up while finding the right balance of one-to-one programs to one-to-many.
- Fuze created a pilot approach with best-fit accounts, which resulted in personalized and timely messages to key prospects when they were most active.
- Demandbase integrations allowed Fuze to pull information together from many different sources and view it in one place, detailing a picture of the company’s prospect and customer activity.
- While ABM can be slow to get going, running pilot programs, laying the right foundation and focusing on data is essential to long-term success.
Many of you may remember the show The Brady Bunch. Apart from my young daughters dressing up as Marcia and Cindy for Halloween this year (thank you YouTube), the middle sister, Jan, had a catch phrase “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” Marcia got all the attention, was the prettiest girl at school, and could do no wrong. Siblings! So in that spirit, I say to our marketing mix: “ABM, ABM, ABM!”
This is a quick story of our journey at Fuze to incorporate an “ABM” strategy and tactics into our marketing mix over the last four years. As you will see, it wasn’t the prettiest or the best tactic at the beginning. But today? I’m thinking Jan had a point.
I started with Fuze almost five years ago and within the first few months, our team grew from about five people to over 20. We realized early on that we could theoretically sell to any company since our cloud communications product was so widely needed by organizations of all types and sizes.
So, we began casting a wide net with our marketing efforts. But, as most marketers eventually come to know, you can’t be all things to all companies. And with limited budget and resources, you won’t make a significant impact by taking this type of approach.
We also had challenges with brand recognition, since we are a smaller player in the space compared to some of the more prominent household names like Zoom and Teams. With no formal or accurate marketing database in place, our sales relied on their own prospecting and personal networks along with channel partners.
We knew that to really scale and contribute to the pipeline a proper marketing database would be needed. So we built one intending on it to be the center of our “Target Account Program.” At the time, the word ABM was very prescriptive, so we avoided it on purpose and introduced TAP––that’s where our ABM journey began.
The key was to define our Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs) and narrow down our go-to-market targets.
Once we (Sales and Marketing together) had identified the targeted accounts, we built a strategy that had to solve 1) accurate firmographic information about each account, 2) accurate build-out of buying team personas at each account, and 3) a system of knowing when any one of these accounts (via the people) was showing signs of curiosity and/or interest in our space or our company directly.
If we could do that, we could communicate with Sales in real time and begin executing on tactics to attract and convert people to qualified sales meetings. I know, this story must sound familiar. So let’s cut to how Demandbase (then Engagio) helped us achieve success.
When we began using Demandbase, we were thrilled to have access to rich behavioral and engagement information about our prospects and customers.
As stated, we had had adequate firmographic and technographic data already, so the addition of this deep engagement data meant that we could finally personalize our efforts and run targeted ads and campaigns to specific segments of our ICP.
This one-to-many approach served us well and allowed us to more thoroughly cover our core markets, raise awareness and demand within those segments, and, ultimately, improve alignment between marketing and sales, since everyone was working together to penetrate the same targets.
As we became more comfortable with the rich engagement data at our fingertips, we decided to test the waters with the classical one-to-one ABM tactics, specifically zeroing in on enterprise brands.
The results were good when we started executing activities for our one-to-one marketing program. We received good feedback from sales, telling us their introductions were warmer and there was a reduction in the “Fuze who?” question.
The challenge became needing to scale up and figure out the right balance of one-to-one programs to one-to-many, since it wasn’t efficient for us to do only one-to-one. We ended up creating a pilot approach with the best-fit accounts that were highly engaged with Fuze and showing strong signs of interest in our space through third-party intent data.
We’ve found this highly targeted approach to be very effective in providing a personalized and timely message to our key prospects by surrounding them with a very relevant message right when they are most active.
One of the keys to success with these programs has been the comprehensive and easy-to-use integrations available to us through Demandbase and how they allow us to pull information together into one view from so many different sources.
The presentation is seamless, allowing us to paint a detailed picture of our prospects’ and customers’ activity. Once we see who is active and engaged, we don’t have to go to 10 different places to do something about it; we can automate right there. It’s efficient and intelligent and done in a way I’ve never seen in any other platform.
While Fuze has already experienced the benefits of ABM, moving forward, we will continue to refine and evolve our approach. We’d like to pull in additional data points and get even more laser-focused on a few industries or segments of the market. We’re always trying new technology and tactics, starting with data and the insights we’re getting from Demandbase and existing systems.
My advice to other B2B marketers interested in going after ABM is to go slowly. Don’t let your excitement or internal pressure cause you to dive in too fast, making you accelerate what should be a slow and thoughtful process.
I encourage you to run pilot programs and realize that data is hard work. You’ll need to define your ICPs and think about where you want to focus. Going slowly and methodically will help you lay the right foundation and work out any kinks you may run into along the way before putting the pedal to the metal.
Also, remember that technology is a critical piece of an ABM program. To enable your team to embrace it, you’ve got to make the adoption piece personal. We initially focused on features and functionality when rolling out new technologies.
The sales and marketing teams were excited, but it wasn’t enough to motivate them to roll it into their everyday activities. We realized we needed to connect the dots for them to really highlight the benefits.
We began focusing on storytelling, walking through clear and personal examples about how to use the systems and understand the information provided, as well as how to work this into their daily cadence. We showed them how it would impact their work and improve their outcomes.
Fuze continues to review and evolve our ABM strategy regularly, realizing new benefits with each refinement. If you’ve been casting a wide net and feel that getting more focused could do your business good, I highly recommend you see what an Account-Based approach can do for you. Your business is worth it.
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