B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast
B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast

Episode 1971 · 8 months ago

How to Test an ABM Strategy without Fancy Software

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, Dan Sanchez talks with Cody Ward, Sr. Director of Demand Generation at Conexium, about how he tested an ABM strategy without fancy software.

Welcome back to BB growth. I'm DanSanchez with Sweet Fish Media, and we're continuing the journey intoaccount based marketing after a week of episodes and interviews. It's becomingvery fun to learn about the ins and outs of this, and that's only justbeginning. And I am excited to learn today from Cody Ward, who is the seniordirector of demand. Gen. At CA Nexium. Thanks for joining me on the show today,Cody. Thanks for having me, Dan Cody with somebody that James referred to mebecause he had published recently a nice light deck about a account basedmarketing campaign that had some pretty phenomenal results. I was just lookingat the pipeline generated. I was like, Oh, this is looking good. So that's thecase study I've been wanting to jump into and talk to you about Cody. So aswe look at it like, can you give us an overview really quickly about co Nexiumand about what you guys were trying to accomplish broadly. And then we canjump into, like, how this specific campaign got started. Why, it wassomething that you even considering, as opposed to other marketingmethodologies. Yeah, absolutely. s okay. Nexium is a software solution formanufacturers. And distributing our distributors primarily be to be andwhat we do is was actually pretty simple. We help automate their businessprocesses and specifically their sales order and invoice purchase. And we helpfree up their customer service and their sales teams to focus in andreally grow their business. And the way we do that is by taking manual taskslike opening email purchase orders and dot and, you know, do manual entry andputting those into an ear piece system. Um, and all we do is is way. Turn thatinto data we put it into, you know, their business rules and basically pushit into their ear piece system in real time with 100% accuracy and our bigdifferentiators, it's completely touchless. So our touchless orders arebasically turn into touches that they...

...could put on their customers or thatgive back to their inside sales and their customers success team thatreallocate however they want. And so it's a great opportunity for anymanufacturer in in any distributor Thio digitize and become a modern businessin 2021. Okay, And how did you get into account based marketing. Was itsomething you've kind of been doing for a long time? And it just recentlyadopted a more modern practices in a B M? Or did you do like, an overhaul atsome point? And what led do you doing that? Yeah s Oh, this is this is myfourth company, fourth SAS company that focused on on B two B customers and theaccount based marketing kind of, You know, definition in term is aninteresting one, because because you're going after businesses anyways, right?Like you're doing account based marketing. You're doing B two bmarketing. Those are those are your only customers. And so, from amarketing perspective, what a B A means to me is a connected and targeted go tomarket approach that all of the functions of your business can can doit the same time. And in that alignments and attack together is forme the difference between what sales and marketing we're doing separatelybefore and what a really account based marketing play is because I don'tbelieve that marketing can run in a B m play by themselves. And I also don'tbelieve that that sales, they'll scales could do it in a silo. It's interesting.I feel like parts of it have been done for a long time. Remember studying evenjust sales letters and copyrighting? And it seems like people are doing it100 years ago, even to manufacturers, right? You know, manufacturing steel.And they're like, Well, we have a better way of processing. You were ironor wherever we have this stuff we can add to it, but they're doing. Theyprobably have 100 list of 100. Manufacturers are doing direct mailback then, right? Eso miking aware some...

...of it has changed about the modernmarketing practices. It becomes so abundant that it was always hard toetake these mass marketing approaches or even just content marketing and tryingto map it specifically to key accounts. Right? I think that's it. It's allabout personalization and the experiences that you can create atscale. So it seems like the company you're working for now has always beenworking with target accounts. Is that right? Right. Was there any differenceyou did in approaching those targeted accounts that you refine it morenarrowly or as you came under the company was their demand within thecompany to move toe like a stronger account based marketing approach? Or isit just kind of like slowly evolved over time? Well, I think the fun thingabout our companies is the stage of growth we're in right now. When Ijoined on the same day I joined our head of sales ops are ahead of businessdevelopment and our head of sales enablement joined kind of on the sameday. And so those four pillars of revenue, we naturally got close andstarted working together. And so it just became natural to go to markettogether. Not to say that there wasn't, uh, you know, previous campaigns thathad flavors of integrated sales and marketing. But to get truly integrated,you really need everyone to be on the same page and to create a new process.And so what we did is we We identified the right accounts, kind of treated itlike an experiment. And then we said, Well, what what is a campaign? Andlet's include not just messaging and positioning. Let's include not justadvertising, but really think through the outbound side. Think through howwe're enabling the a east to understand what we're doing ahead of what we'redoing when we're doing it. And it's a have all of those things deliver thesame message so that it seems seamless to the receiving end of it. So theyheard the same thing and it started to resonate so we could hit him acrossmultiple channels. Okay, so in the beginning, there's the three of you andyou're like you probably all came to...

...the conclusion like, Hey, they'realready targeted accounts. Let's just work more systematically and worktogether on it, which just makes sense. Exactly. Did you just take the existingaccounts for like Okay, well, it looks like they were already going afterthese accounts. Or did you kind of like, have a period of like, Wait, let's makesure these are the right accounts first? Or did you just continue on with thoseaccounts that they already pursuing? Well, both. But we we looked at itstrategically, and we brought everyone in to kind of give us guidance, right.So from really top down, we started thinking about all of our accounts andwhich ones had the had the greatest opportunity for us to have aconversation with them now. And so, you know, we met with our heads of salesand our executive team and kind of asked them the question. We served up aframework and said, You know, we're able to do all of this from acapabilities in an execution standpoint. Where do you want us to start? And soSo they basically said, Well, here's you know, if they're a brainstormingsession, here's the dream list of all of the different groups of accounts.And what message we can deliver the to them now. And and we said, All right,we're going to start with one. We're gonna do this experiment. We're goingto create a personalized experience and dry and drive people to it withmessaging that is Onley relevant to those accounts we grabbed and then wemeasured it, and quickly we saw, well, back, back up a little bit back up. I'mlike, there's so many details and just like all everything, you just we gottapick it apart. So you started with one account, right? So that's kind of coollike you just you came up with a dream list and, like anybody could do thatright now, Any B two b market to be like Yeah, but what one customer? What?You just, like kill the have and you're not sure if they're in market. But, youknow, they're not working with your competitors, right? Or maybe they are.I don't know. So it's anybody could do a test. We just want to make it acustomized experience. I don't know if that's enough to prove that it works,is it could be a win. And for other reasons, I almost wonder if one wasenough. But it is interesting that you...

...just picked one to go after aan den. Soyou pick the one. What are some of those? What? How do you How did youchange the messaging to go after the one? So to go after the one, webasically got all the context of what was unique about them, like they'rethey're unique situation. And we got that from, you know, the person whoworks with them the most are a in our customer success manager. And our goalwith that first one was up selling cross sell. And so we we met with themand created a program and an experience that that we could really affect thatand measure it s so were they already an existing customer that you weretrying to Upsell? So clarification R A B M strategy started off with a 1 to 1.A one, a few in a one to many approach. We were already doing one too many. Andso we said, Let's start with one toe, one in one, a few, the one the one weidentified one account, and that account was a customer up sell play.The one a few was was a group that we met with our executives and said, Goafter those that that larger list of about 800 accounts. So one the one withthe existing customer. It's kind of a nice way. Thio dip your toes in becauseyou already know a lot about because you're talking about their current acurrent customer. Easy to set that case up. How to go with the one you said youdid the one too few. Next. How many are you like? Is a few 10? Or is it like300? Well, it was about 800 was our first was our first few And that'swhere we really started to move the needle. Thanks. So with those 800 howdid you get the data? You need to do customized marketing for them, becausewith your customer, you know them pretty well already. And 808 100. A lot.Thio, learn about manually. Which means you probably had to go get some data onthem. Or did you Just how did you get it? Yeah, we got we got data on. Um,there's a lot of tools at our disposal that maybe allow you to do a B m. Andyou couldn't previously, some of that's...

...intent data. Some of that's the thirdparty data tools, andan some of its the first party data that we have. And sowe went through an exercise that said, You know, out of the 30,000 plusaccounts that, you know, we grabbed at first glance water these ones that wecould put into ah, slightly tighter bucket and and then selected those 800.What kind of data sources were you looking at? Two essentially build up acampaign around. Did you like technical? No. No, you wouldn't get techno graphicfor for a manufacturer maybe Did what? Data sources? Yeah, we grabbed technographic demographic region specific. Like this was a North American campaignbased on some of the software that they had. And that's kind of how we builtthe first campaign, the software that they have integrated perfectly withwhat we dio. And so we created our messaging around that. Okay. And thenthe messaging Did you sit down and come up with a custom? Probably not a customvalue proposition. Per one. Did you break it down into segments like, howdid you customize the messaging for them? Surprisingly, the value propdidn't change all that much. I kind of expected it to when we first did theexercise, but it fit pretty well. What we customized mawr was why we werecommunicating with them. Like, what was the match? What was the fit that madethem fit with us like a glove? And that's really what we kind of leanedinto and just started doing it together across channels. And I think the crosschannels was the key here. We had BDR s calling them the same time as we hadads circling the buying group at the same time we had emails going out onWeb pages available for them toe download content all at the same time.So that's a lot of personalization in it. And you probably have to relyheavily on tech to personalize all these pieces. What was the kind ofcadence you were sending to them from beginning to end? Like if I were one ofthese 800. How did I experience this? Yeah, we we kind of bootstrapped ourfirst campaign. It wasn't it wasn't to...

...tech heavy way. We built a landing pageand designed and coded it up. No heavy a b m platforms at the moment, althoughwe'll probably add one to, you know, as we scale. And, uh and, yeah, we justjust launched it executed and try to drive people to it so we can have aconversation. So if I was one of those 800 like, what did I see first and thenfollowed up after that? Yeah. So you saw you saw our ads across across theweb. You saw an email pop up that said, with some some case studies in somevideos, one of the things that we believe is in telling our own customersstory. And so the more opportunities that we have for for you to hear fromsomeone like yourself versus you know, us from the sales in the marketing team,we think that that that's going to resonate. And so that's what we leadwith. How did you get my email? Did I give it to you? Or is that already on alist of you sent a cold? If we had it, we send it to our database of prospects.But for the most part, it was It was driven through third party data. Okay,So you were sending even if they didn't click and engage with the ads. You youstill send them an email. All of the emails were from the database thatwe've had that they opted into. But a lot of the outbound calling was wherewe kind of expanded into that channel. Okay, so it's kind of a cadence of adsemail, and then you had your str team kind of start begin calling them withmessaging built for them. Gotcha. What made that different from the campaignsyou were doing before? If you were doing one too many and these 800 or onetoo few, 800? Still a lot. So I'm like, It's not It's not a few. I mean, for abig company doing a B m like that could be that could be a few. So I'm tryingto differentiate. What's the difference between what you were doing beforeversus what you're doing now? What we were doing before was not a jointeffort. It was It was sales with their own strategy that the outbound team,with their own strategy going after the...

...accounts like maybe there was someoverlap and and we were going out there to two different accounts. Sometimes wemight have hit the same account and got lucky. But for the most part, there wasno kind of joint effort to say Go after these 800 this time frame with thismessage. And I think that made the world of difference. Is just justfocusing as a team on the same accounts with the same story that worked for us.Yeah, I mean, even just starting with a list of 800 known accounts is a bigdifference, right? Versus not knowing who they are, which is what mostmarking teams are doing and generally is what I'm I'm usually doing evenmarketing sweet fish media. I'm advertising to a group of people. Or atleast I did this summer that I don't know. I don't know who the accounts are.Our price range is also smaller. So our market is pretty large going after B toB companies ourselves in like that. Yeah. And previously, our marketing was,you know, we're ready when you come to us, but there, and we'll kind of go outthere with some of our our outbound messaging and advertising, But it waskind of Ah, a waiting scenario for were blasting some off some stuff out there.But we're not quite sure if you're gonna come back and we're not quitesure where you're working. All right, so we have the point where we'vetargeted 800 different accounts. You've run ads to them. You've sent emails.You've been calling them up. What did the results start to look like? And howlong did it take to start to see movement on this campaign? Yes. So forour first campaign that we ran, we started to see it relatively quickly gointo our funnel and the top of our funnel for us is defined as a meeting.And so within the first week or two we had data that showed that what we weredoing is working. And when we set this up, we looked at kind of a baseline ofwhat our historical waas and it was. It was a trickle. It was, you know,occasionally of this, 801 would pop...

...here and there, but there was really norhyme or reason to it when we saw it happened. We got a dozen off the batthe first week in two dozen, the next week of people coming in and basicallyraising their hand for a meeting with us. Wow, that's pretty good. And whereare you guys at today? Well, so we said that's working with those 800. Um, thenwe went back to the list that we we sink with the executive team on andsaid, All right, what's what's campaign number two? Let's run that in parallel.So while the first one was running with those early results, we said, What'sthe next group of accounts? And so I think the next list was a little bitlarger around 2000. And then we did the same thing. Same channels, wrote thescripts for the BDR s. They did the calling. Some emails went out. If wehad them in our database, circled the buying group with with advertising. Andwe saw the same thing, the trickle very inconsistent. And then, for thoseaccounts, we started measuring all the meetings that we created for him. Andthen our next step is is, uh is them going into pipeline? How much does itcost to execute this campaign in general, if you could give me, like, arough estimate, I think I allocated about 2500 to 5000 for digital ad spendjust going to to circling the buying group with those display ads. It costsus nothing other than our time to to send the emails. And then we we wroteall the call scripts in house and and built the landing pages with with ouragency. So some fixed costs in there. But once we did the first one, it'sreally just the incremental on the advertising costs. The working dollarsdoes not cost a fortune to run an A B. M campaign, right? I think that's acommon misconception I'm seeing is like, Oh, you have to have some, like$100,000 a B M Tech stack in order to do it. Well, well, if you do a B Mright, you can make a $5000 spend feel like a $500,000 spend, but for onlythose small group of people and it's...

...working. It's working well. I love tohear how it's working and a fairly good scale. I mean eight hundreds, not likea small amount of contacts. That is a lot of people to follow up with that.There's a lot of people to send to try toe target correctly. It's a lot ofpeople to follow up with with SDRs. And it's clearly working for you, though,so I think even taking some of the essentials of a B M and implementing itin a place where we used to, where a lot of people are still doing justadvertising, too. The void, instead of trying to pick the specific accountsthey want to pull forward into their funnel, is a better play. I do findthat it's working for baby companies is. Many people say that A B M is overrated,which I keep hearing over and over again. Now it's worked very well. Yeah,and for us we're seeing a mix to of of success, across small business, Midmarket in In Enterprise and other companies have been at its It's taken alot longer, especially if you're just going after enterprise to to see someof the results. But we're seeing some some good stuff relatively quickly.Fantastic. Cody, if anybody is getting started with a B M, what advice wouldyou give to them now that you've kind of been been through it before? Um,don't overcomplicate it and lean into the personalization so you don't havetoe have you know the technology and the latest and greatest of ofeverything just to test and learn. If you if you believe that that will workfor you, go sync with your biz Dev and your sales team and do somethingtogether. Fantastic. Cody, thank you for joining me on the show today. Ifpeople want to learn more about what you've accomplished and just connectwith you, where's a good place to find you online? You can connect with me,Cody war dot com If you wanna find me personally or look me up on lengthenand yeah, let's be friends Fantastic.

Thanks again for joining me on the show.Yeah. Hey, everybody. Logan was sweet fishhere. If you're a regular listener of B two B growth, you know that I'm one ofthe co host of the show, but you may not know that I also head up the salesteam here. A sweet fish. So for those of you in sales or sales ops, I wantedto take a second to share something that's made us insanely more efficient.Lately, our team has been using lead I Q for the past few months and what usedto take us four hours gathering Contact data now takes us on Lee. One where 75%more efficient were able to move faster with outbound prospecting. Andorganizing our campaigns is so much easier than before. I'd highly suggestyou guys check out lead I Q. As well. You can check them out at lead. I q dotcom That's l e a d e que dot com Gary B says it all the time and weagree every company should think of themselves as a media company first,then whatever it is they actually dio if you know this is true. But your teamhas already maxed out and you can't produce any more content in house. Wecan help. We produce podcast for some of the most innovative BB brands in theworld, and we also help them turn the content from the podcast into blockposts, micro videos and slide decks that worked really well on LinkedIn. Ifyou wanna learn more, go to sweet Fish media dot com slash launch or emailLogan at sweet fish media dot com.

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