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Atmel’s Sander Arts, Extole’s Jen Gray Reveal ABM Journeys At C2C16

A 2015 study from SiriusDecisions found that 90% of marketers believe account-based marketing (ABM) is a must-have, but only 20% have implemented the strategy within their organization. Those who are using it are seeing significant success.

During a panel at the 2016 Content2Conversion and Demand Gen Summit conference, moderated by Chris Golec, CEO of Demandbase, Atmel’s Sander Arts and Extole’s Jen Gray discussed their journeys with ABM.

Golec kicked off the session by highlighting some key points on ways to begin to implement ABM.

“The most important thing about getting started with ABM is to get started,” he said.

The approach to ABM focuses on four key categories, including:

  • Aligning sales and marketing;
  • Identifying target accounts;
  • Developing a marketing plan around target accounts; and
  • Measuring results at the account level.

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“In marketing, we’re so driven to measure clicks, leads and everything about volume,” Golec said. “ABM is about the success of each account; everything from generating awareness to engaging them on your site and measuring the results.”

Changing The Business Model

For Gray, the initiation of ABM at Extole began around changing the company’s entire business model from a social media marketing platform to pure referrals.

“We needed to push our message out as much as possible, but we didn’t know our most successful customers,” she said. “A couple of years back, we evaluated our customer base, and we found that retailers, financial services and entertainment companies …are most successful with referrals right off the bat.”

Gray decided to target global 500 companies to put together the targeted account list. Her team internally was excited about implementing ABM, but it wasn’t necessarily easy.

Obstacles Faced

“I always thought that I was aligned with sales, but this was aligning on a single list of targeted accounts and showing the team all of the things I could do with that list,” she said. “It’s gotten the sales team so excited. It was difficult to get everyone on the same page and align the targeted accounts at first, but the data [ultimately] got everyone behind it.”

Sander Arts has challenges as well. He said there were a handful of veteran sales people who weren’t exactly happy about Arts talking to their customers, and that relationship needed to be massaged.

Advice On Getting Started

Gray and Arts both offered advice for companies who are looking to implement ABM.

“Account-based marketing is nothing new,” Gray said. “It’s something we’ve been doing, but haven’t talked about or gotten excited about. Your targeted account list is your gold mine; it’s the best place to start. Getting it wherever you can and using it to target those companies and tell sales when those companies are visiting your site has been the best success for us.”

Arts concluded, “My advice would be just to get going, because you’ll immediately see what’s going to happen, you can intuitively see what will happen down the line.”