ABM: Choosing Quality over Volume


Are you hustling enough? You’ve probably come across more than a few sales blogs, YouTube videos, and podcasts that have as characterized “hustle” as the magic key that opens all sales doors. And in this era of automation, it’s easier than ever for even the smallest sales and marketing teams to reach greater numbers of prospects. Sure, most of them will ignore your messages and never respond to your follow-up. But because automation makes mass marketing so cheap, no one gets hurt, right? You hustle harder and find more people to contact. Make enough cold calls, leave enough voicemails, write enough emails, and that raw activity will translate into more leads, more customers, and more money.

Until it doesn’t. Hustle, says Nudge.ai CTO and co-founder Steve Woods, might make you look impressively active and get potentially endless quantities of new prospects into your funnel. It might land you some meetings and even new buyers. But is it really getting you the quantity and quality of customers you want? Probably not, says Woods, because it’s a strategy that’s based on tracking volume rather than building relationships. By design, it treats buyers as largely interchangeable. If one doesn’t bite, there are plenty more to go after.

A hustle mentality built on automation fails also to take into account the hidden costs of auto-everything. Chief among these is the real damage done by wave after wave of outreach to would-be prospects who are onto your game, and that of dozens of your competitors. These prospects adjust their spam filters or unsubscribe and they’re gone, maybe forever. And more likely than not with a tainted impression of your brand.

It’s clear this “automation first” approach is not only ineffective, it can be outright harmful. It creates the illusion of an active sales and marketing funnel even as it wastes valuable time and possibly undermines your company’s reputation.

Account-based marketing is a better way forward

What’s an ambitious sales and marketing team to do? For Woods, account-based marketing (ABM) offers a better way forward. Instead of identifying target companies by casting the widest possible net and tossing out most of the fish, ABM begins by determining which accounts offer the best opportunities, and marketing to them through fully customized content. At all stages of the conversion process, the focus remains on communicating value and relevance.

At a deeper level, ABM recognizes that not even the most aggressively volume-driven automation can substitute for understanding what a prospect needs and taking the time to build a relationships built on trust.

“Instead of driving success by increasing volume, ABM leaders drive success through quality and relevance.” — Steve Woods, Nudge.ai

This is not to say ABM ignores the need for scale. An effective ABM approach recognizes that maintaining a healthy sales pipeline is a question of both breadth and depth. Going beyond questions of pipeline to the general health of sales, marketing, and operations, ABM is also a holistic re-envisioning of how you bring in revenue. It uses tactics, tools, and processes that are designed to work in concert to amplify the total effectiveness of the others. With ABM, companies see not only stronger, more trust-based relationships with customers, but also better sales and marketing alignment, more useful measurement of analytics and metrics, the capability to create personalized content and correspondence at scale, and more effective coordination of gifting and incentive plays.

ABM on any budget

Businesses of all sizes and in all industries are increasingly aware of ABM and its benefits. You may even be part of a team or organization that has identified implementing ABM as a top strategic priority—in a recent survey by Canam Research and Campaign Stars, 65% of respondents surveyed wanted to use ABM. They resonate with an approach focused from the start on quality, and know that when done right ABM can bring in more complex deals and higher-value customers.

But doing it right, you may be thinking, must be a massive and probably expensive undertaking. It’s true that developing the tools and processes to make ABM work does not just happen overnight. It requires a shift both in what sales and marketing teams are doing and how they conceive of their roles and objectives.

Making this shift is possible for teams of all sizes and budgets. Companies that are serious about implementing ABM but know they can’t do it alone have found invaluable expertise in marketing-as-a-service partners. By working with a MaaS partner, you’ll have immediate access to practical assets needed for successful ABM—writers, data analysts, survey specialists, developers; tools to track and measure; and relationships with specialized players in demand and lead generation, campaign execution and more. Equally important, you’ll benefit from a support system already familiar with the concept and techniques of ABM, and how to execute on them.

A MaaS partner such as Campaign Stars makes fully personalized account-based campaigns a reality for any organization. You can plug your ideas and accounts into an existing structure that will collaborate with your team to create, implement and measure campaigns at the scale you need. At each step of the journey, your attention will go to your most relevant and valuable prospects.

For a more in-depth view of this topic, download our Holy Book of ABM Research written in conjunction with Engagio and Sendoso <here>.

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