Building a Legitmate Target Account Process at the Intersection of Intent Data, Conversational Marketing and ABM

Ed Marsh | Mar 15, 2019

ABM Isn't Just Another Block in Your Martech Stack

Really effective account-based marketing is built on lots of creativity and experimentation, some best practices, and tight integration between marketing and sales.

Too often it's viewed as yet another relatively simple tactic to be added in addition to PPC and email. That approach fails.

ABM success, in contrast, requires complex, nuanced, multi-channel approaches.

I recently joined Drift's Gar Smyth and ITSMA's Rob Leavitt to talk about opportunities at the intersection of ABM, Intent Data and Conversational Marketing. Please take a bit of time to view the webinar recording on demand here. For a quick preview of what we'll cover, I've included a recap of some highlights below.

Breaking Down the Expert ABM Insights

Ed Marsh on Intent Data, Account-Based Marketing and Conversational Marketing with Drift

Rob Leavitt

Rob is SVP and ABM lead at ITSMA. Select insights Rob shared during the webinar include:

  • For the folks that helped to develop the concept of ABM (ITSMA), the recent evolution of the martech stack and data sources have create opportunities to weave threads together
  • ABM simultaneously helps to build the brand and generate demand
  • Successful ABM requires understanding “What are the accounts that are going to help drive your business?” (Ed note - how many companies have a rigorous process for defining, selecting and managing target accounts? The top 20, middle 100, next 1000? My experience is that very few do much more than ask AEs to provide a list of their aspirational targets.)
  • Too often hard won leads aren’t followed up – because of poor marketing and sales alignment or because they’re not from accounts that sales really cares about. ABM can help foster alignment because marketing is delivering what sales really values
  • Prospects quickly ascertain whether you understand their industry, their business, them, their competition, their current high priority challenges. (Ed note - This is why The Challenger Sale – how to efficiently demonstrate the first four – and intent data – the key to the fifth – are so important.)
  • We recognize that a small number of accounts are responsible for a disproportionate share of revenue – so just as sales instinctively focuses there, in ABM so does marketing. The most successful programs focus on developing highly customized efforts for the top tier
  • Good demand generation demands integrated mutli-channel approaches. There is no “best tactic.” Increasingly a blend of meetings, events, ads, web personalization, even postal mail are required
  • Ideally intent data is flagged to alert reps on activity by high priority targets in real-time
  • GDPR is actually a great thing for marketers – and intent data is a huge tool to overcome the limitations under which we have to work
  • “The balance of online and offline, inbound and outbound” is the essence of effective demand gen

Gar Smyth

Gar runs enterprise demand generation at Drift. Gar's daily, practical experience building ABM around conversational marketing generated insights including:

  • Weaving intent data, conversational marketing and ABM together is about doing more with your demand gen dollars – and getting more meetings with target prospects without annoying them
  • Intent data gives you a leg up on your competition because you know who’s actively in the market and can focus your BDRs
  • Only about 1-2% of traffic converts on B2B websites – a terrible return on investment
  • If you wait five minutes to follow up on an internet lead you see a drop of 10X in your connection rate (ability to reach them later to follow up) (Ed note - Imagine what this means to the typical trade show follow up model – get back to the office, sort out leads, catch up on other work, then send an email….then move on. No wonder return is so poor in many cases!)
  • Lead scoring is designed for sellers – not for buyers
  • The biggest key to improving demand gen is replacing forms. That’s different than replacing marketing automation. Rather it’s about connecting interested buyers and sellers NOW
  • Layer in chatbots to do it 24X7, and layer in firmographic intelligence (like Drift Intel) and individual insights (like intent data) for optimized results

Ed Marsh

The Intent Data angle included among other points:

  • Too many folks trying to implement one to many ABM hit a wall when they try to identify who the key buyers are
  • Important to understand 3 types of intent data – 1st, 2nd & 3rd party
  • 3rd party intent data is where the most progress has occurred. It used to be you would only know the accounts (and a guess at the person) – but now, with the right data, you know who the person is
  • Use cases range from purely demand gen marketing (who’s actively researching) through complex sales (insight into the 6.8 person buying team)
  • Even knowing that someone’s actively researching might not be enough to speak directly to “their current high priority challenges.” But strong third-party intent data can identify where they are in the buying journey and what specific challenge they have
  • Too many demand generation and ABM efforts are built around expensive, static databases rather than 3rd party intent data that identifies who the active individual is (not just the company - you don't sell to companies! You sell to individuals.)
  • Where’s the creepy line – how can companies balance insights and improve effectiveness without weirding out prospects – that takes some thought and a clear philosophy – not to mention great sales training and copywriting

This was a really stimulating conversation.  Are you ready for the full discussion? Jump into the recording here for the full experience.