#B2BMX24 Campfire Session: How To Build A Sales Activation Playbook For ABM Strategies

Published: February 28, 2024

There are many flavors of scrappy account-based marketing, but the common ingredients are always resourcefulness, creativity and adaptability. With 57% of practitioners in soon-to-be-released DGR research indicating that they’re prioritizing investments in account-based experiences, Mason Cosby, Founder of Scrappy ABM, took the B2B Marketing Exchange stage to host the third-ever campfire-style session with “The First Step To ABM Is Activation: Building Your First Sales Activation Play.”

Cosby kicked his presentation off by level-setting his classification of ABM, which he defines as a revenue strategy that aligns revenue teams around a set of shared accounts. Revenue teams, for their part, are defined as tightly aligned sales, marketing and customer success departments. However, alignment remains a key issue, as it’s the No. 1 reason ABM fails, Cosby explained. He continued that the other two reasons for failure include:

  • A tech stack and KPIs not set up for ABM; and
  • A lack of dedicated resources.

“You can’t just go to your sales team and tell them that you’re building an ABM program, because they’ll just Google the term and get a bunch of information that sounds really complicated,” said Cosby. “Instead, tell them you’re going to build a playbook that will help surface meetings for them.”

{loadposition GIAA}With that in mind, he explained that the ABM playbook must be built around sales activation plays, which are “the repeatable processes for sales or customer success teams when they become involved in specific customer conversations.” The benefits of these activation plays, he continued, consist of:

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  • A natural alignment of sales and marketing;
  • Starting the transition of KPIs and the martech stack; and
  • Simplifies the process of getting started.

In other words? Sales activation plays directly address the top three reasons for failure. With that in mind, he shared the “Four D” framework of building activation plays, which include:

  • Data, a summary of the target, messaging, positioning, personas, product and any input that impacts the content and targeting of the activation play;
  • Distribution, which are defined strategies, tactics and channels for how the data is then distributed to the target audience;
  • Destination, which consists of the “what” and “where” that data and distribution push prospects to, whether it’s pages, content, conversion points or desired outcomes; and
  • Direction, which are the conversion points or paths that are established to better track target direction and outcomes for the activation play, such as forms, CTAs and demos.

Once there’s a successful playbook in place and sales’ calendars are filling up with meetings, Cosby shared that marketers can then focus on refining the playbooks and more directly tailoring them to specific accounts.

“If you’re starting scrappy, focus on one playbook and choose the one that aligns with your largest or most reliable data source,” said Cosby. “This ensures repeatability and allows for a smoother transition into more advanced ABM programs later on. The goal is to balance volume with control and data specificity. Don’t jump into a 1:1 approach right away — instead, build a foundation with a targeted playbook.”

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