B2B Marketers Sound Off: What’s Working In ABM During & Post-COVID-19?

Published: April 15, 2020

With many businesses pivoting marketing strategies and canceling events due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, maintaining an ABM strategy in the B2B market is becoming increasingly more challenging. Despite the unknowns, keeping the engagement engine running with ABM is still a viable opportunity for businesses looking to build momentum during this difficult time.

ITSMA, a B2B marketing leadership community, recently partnered with the ABM Leadership Alliance, a national organization focused on educating B2B marketers about developing and deploying a successful ABM, to host a webinar called “Accelerating ABM impact: What’s Working, What’s Next.” Moderated by ITSMA’s Rob Leavitt, the panel featured leaders in the B2B marketing space, including:

  • Charm Bianchini, VP of Growth Marketing, LeanData;
  • Chad Blaise, Head of Channels & Growth, Bizzabo;
  • Christine Farrier, Sr. Director of Channel & Partner Marketing, Demandbase;
  • Megan Heuer, VP of Marketing, Engagio;
  • Cassandra Jowett, Sr. Director of Marketing, PathFactory;
  • Eric Martin, VP of Demand Generation, SalesLoft;
  • Jane Menyo, Sr. Director of Solutions Marketing, ON24; and
  • Marne Reed, Chief Evangelist, VP of Strategic Alliances, PFL.

During the presentation, the panel of experts discussed sales alignment, integrating ABM with demand generation, integrated campaigns and creating engaging ABM content. Demand Gen Report attended the webinar to aggregate some of the key insights from the conversation.

On Using This Time To Build Internal & External Relationships…

“Take this time right now to start building your relationships with sales. The more that you understand what’s going on with sales, the more ABM will work.” —Charm Bianchini, LeanData

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“People are really paying attention when you personalize things for them. Sometimes just working directly with the sales team one-on-one and choosing the right content for that account is the key.” —Cassandra Jowett, PathFactory

On Integrating ABM With Traditional Demand Gen…

“Having a blend of account-based focus and broad-based demand gen makes sense. [In terms of] direct mail and gifting, we’re doing more programs that are personalized for that specific geo and making them more donation focused. We’re giving back to those less fortunate in the community right now and really embedding that message of ‘make a donation on your path.’” —Eric Martin, SalesLoft

“We marry our demand gen and ABM by having the demand gen bring in unknown ICPs and then use the ABM strategy to carry them through the nurture conversation. Looking at the digital intent signals, our ABM starts when the BDR handoff and then our multi-channel orchestrated campaigns begin at that point.” —Marne Reed, PFL

On Developing Engaging ABM Content In Lieu Of Physical Meetings…

 “We knew it was still very important for our targeted accounts to hear about the items we were going to be sharing. Turning our virtual keynote into a product announcement and making it available to people who registered — as well as wider audiences — was a big success for us. We had lots of engagement in terms of people wanting to get access to that content and it is going to be a great pipeline producer.” —Christine Farrier, Demandbase

“We put together some packages of content, which we call content tracks, to serve those [accounts] and deliver across multiple channels including the sales team. It was amazing to see that the average view time on that content was double or triple what it would normally be for that type of campaign. —Cassandra Jowett, PathFactory.

On Investing In ABM Tech…

“The two main components you want to be focused on when you think about your tech stack and your efficiencies is how does it help you automate your workflows? ABM is how you effectively scale your programs in your business, so think about the ways it’s going to actually support your team in their work and day-to-day. The second part is, how are you going to empower your team with intelligence to actually take smarter actions? In our world, data is gold, but we can often be swimming in data and not know what to do with it.” —Jane Menyo, ON24.

Now more than ever, B2B marketers are in a unique position to assess the efficacy of their solutions and to target accounts that have the greatest potential to buy. Whether it’s creating more personalized content, investing in better technology or spending more time with their sales teams, marketers should use this time to refine their ABM strategy so they won’t lose any ground and can come out the gate swinging when the social restrictions lift.

“What do people really miss about not being able to go to those in-person events right now?” asked Engagio’s Heuer. “One of those things is just having those conversations with peers, meeting new people, expanding your network, finding new ideas in places you didn’t expect.”

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