ABM: Choosing Quality over Volume

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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>.

Making the leap to Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

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More and more businesses know it—using traditional demand generation practices just won’t cut it in terms of turning their most valuable targets into leads and customers. These same businesses are increasingly turning to account-based marketing (ABM) to market more efficiently, align sales and marketing more closely, and bring in more revenue. Studies by ITSMA found that 84% of companies that use ABM report that it delivers a better ROI than other types of marketing.

As awareness of ABM and its benefits grows, companies are reconsidering their entire B2B sales and marketing philosophy and tactics. In a recent survey, 65% of C-suite respondents said implementing ABM was a strategic priority for 2018. Why, then, are nearly a quarter of these companies unable to make the leap to developing and executing an ABM program? If ABM is so much better than what they’re doing, what’s stopping them—or anyone else—from using it?

Getting from intention to action

As always, it’s a question of time and money. ABM is a proven solution, but developing the tools and processes to make it work does not just happen overnight. Putting a good ABM program into place means reassessing all aspects of the existing process. For marketers, that might mean creating new content.

And creating the level of content needed for ABM success is difficult! Indeed, research conducted by Canam Research, a subsidiary of Campaign Stars, reveals that less than 6% of Account Executives are effective at creating personalized sales content (e.g., emails, call scripts) for multiple stakeholders across different departments.

But it’s work, says Engagio’s Brandon Redlinger, that’s well worth doing. As useful as content marketing has been in helping B2B marketing teams start conversations with quality prospects, creating good content marketing still means devoting considerable time and resources to weave and cast a wide lead generation net. What if those same resources could be used to create materials that were of equally high quality but were more likely to be read and acted upon by their targeted audience?

Developing ABM content is a crucial part of any ABM strategy, but it isn’t something marketing teams have to do alone or simply try to cram in alongside the inbound lead–related campaigns they’re already creating. Bringing on a Marketing-as-a-Service (MaaS) partner like Campaign Stars can help marketers create the content they need in a scalable, streamlined way.

What constitutes ABM content?

According to Redlinger, the first step to building a library of valuable ABM materials is determining what kind of content is right for ABM. Everything that would be part of traditional sales and marketing is fair game—emails, ebooks, white papers, web pages, blog posts, podcasts, videos, interactive content, webinars, infographics, social media posts, surveys, quizzes … the list goes on. But with ABM, two key questions apply: Is it targeted? Is it relevant? These questions should be kept in mind for both the message a piece of content conveys and the format that message takes.

“Focus on tactics and formats that your audience engages with. Some personas read ebooks widely, while others don’t. Some will happily watch half-hour videos; others won’t even watch a 1-minute video.” – Brandon Redlinger, Engagio

Here is where the expertise of a partner like Campaign Stars is especially valuable. MaaS partners can help you create and maintain account-specific content hubs where different decision makers at your target accounts can find content that is relevant to their needs and stage of the buying process. And MaaS platforms will have a whole team of writers, designers, survey specialists and more.

A MaaS partner will also take a scalable approach by using tools such as a content playbook. Messages and content are mapped to personas and buying stages, providing a base to work from. When marketers need new content, the MaaS team will take different elements of the base, combining, reconfiguring, and tweaking them in just the right way for each account. The result is the same highly personalized messaging, but created in less time and without forever reinventing the wheel.

Getting started with ABM content creation

Redlinger identifies three steps to begin creating ABM content that makes targets take action:

  • Do a content audit—what do you already have that could be relevant, and where are the gaps?
  • Adapt existing content—what can be used as-is, or with just minor revisions/personalization?
  • Create new content—a bit more complicated, but again worth the effort. Decide on themes and topics to emphasize, identify sources in the form of experts and existing content, and create editorial calendars and briefs.

And if this all sounds daunting, it doesn’t have to be! A MaaS partner will have content and data analysis teams at the ready who are familiar with your accounts, messaging and personas but who also bring fresh insights. They will create content on-demand, test what works, and adjust accordingly so that you can reach out consistently to your highest-value targets in a way that resonates with them.

With MaaS, marketing teams of all sizes can create fully developed, personalized account-based campaigns. Your best prospects will have the attention you want to give them, without busting your budget.

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

The Holy Book of ABM Research: A 360° Holistic Guide to Executing Account-Based Marketing.

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Campaign Stars is proud to announce the release of The Holy Book of ABM Research: A 360° Holistic Guide to Executing Account-Based Marketing.

In partnership with Engagio and Sendoso, we commissioned CanAm Research to conduct the 2017 State of ABM Survey to gather the responses of marketing, sales, and operations leaders across all industries in an effort to better gauge and understand the behaviors and opinions of top organizations today surrounding ABM.

Today, we are pleased to release our findings in our latest eBook!

The Holy Book of ABM Research: A 360° Holistic Guide to Executing Account-Based Marketing, available for free download below, demonstrates that there is a growing demand for ABM as a strategic initiative throughout the corporate world, but that roadblocks to successful execution – specifically, challenges with sales and marketing alignment, agreeing upon the correct analytics and metrics, creating personalized content and correspondence at scale, and coordinating effective gifting and incentive plays – are keeping companies from realizing the full value from ABM that they should.

This report is objective, unbiased, and represents the most current and up-to-date realities of the industry.

One of the most critical things we learned is that many organizations are struggling to create high-quality, personalized content at the account level, as part of an account-based marketing strategy.

A few statistics stand out:

  • 23% of companies rely on their sales teams to create personalized content.
  • Only 6% report their sales people are “highly effective” at creating personalized content.
  • 48% report their salespeople are “not effective” at creating personalized content.
  • 19% of companies don’t create personalized content at the account level at all.

Want to learn more?

Download The Holy Book of ABM Research: A 360° Holistic Guide to Executing Account-Based Marketing now, and get your ABM edge for the New Year!

                                          DOWNLOAD NOW

Webinar: Inside DiscoverOrg’s Growth Acceleration Strategy

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It’s amazing the things we can accomplish when we work together.

That’s why Campaign Stars partnered with Salesforce Pardot to host a webinar outlining the specific techniques and methods we used to quickly and practically implement a turn-key account-based marketing (ABM) strategy for our client DiscoverOrg, the leader in market intelligence data and one of the fastest growing companies with a staggering 5,000% revenue growth in less than 5 years.

Together, we shared some of the insights we’ve gained from actual experiences creating, executing, and reaping the rewards of effective, targeted ABM campaigns. Here’s how we created a turn-key ABM campaign for DiscoverOrg, plus a full quarter’s worth of content, in just two weeks, thanks to good data, good messaging, and good content working together.

Survey-Based Lead Generation

The most difficult part of the sales process is making initial contact. To open doors at prospect accounts and begin the dialogue with key stakeholders and decision-makers, we invited targeted marketing directors and CMOs to participate in this survey via our wholly owned research arm. Leveraging our data repository, we pulled a highly targeted list of these contacts based on specific segmentation criteria. We now had the first part of an impactful ABM campaign place: the right targets!

To optimize engagement, we fully managed an incentive program that offered respondents a small gift in exchange for their participation. Well, it turns out people love to share their knowledge and a little gift goes a long way! Folks responded in droves sharing priceless prospecting information about their pain points, their needs, their budget, their priorities, and their corporate plans, not to mention their up-to-date contact information.

DiscoverOrg had struck a gold mine.

Profile based engagement

With this unprecedented wealth of information at their disposal, we then created a series of highly-targeted prospecting scripts (email and phone), designed to speak specifically to the pain points we already knew existed for each contact based upon their responses. This led to a 300% improvement in response rates and appointments set as conversations where now couched in a prospect’s business needs vs generic messaging.

Your Proprietary Research Drives Campaigns That Resonate

But that’s just the beginning! Since we now had a significant quantity of what was the newest, most recent industry research available, we created dynamic, powerful content from it – a full quarter’s worth, in fact – and shared it with the rest of the industry! We designed and deployed eBooks, case studies, social media copy, and more sharing our information – information that was already driving 300% better engagement by itself. This is the second part of a successful ABM campaign: highly relevant content.

The Results

The results? Well, they’re a doozy.

In just two weeks, DiscoverOrg added 65 new marketing-qualified leads to its pipeline. Eight of those were immediately escalated to Stage 2+ opportunities, representing over a million dollars in potential revenue.

Plus, DiscoverOrg got a full quarter of its marketing strategy squared away in just a fortnight. Given that this content is based upon peer based research, DiscoverOrg has seen a 36% improvement in prospect engagement vs traditional content.

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WATCH THE FREE WEBINAR NOW, and learn more directly from DiscoverOrg’s CMO.

How DiscoverOrg Generated Qualified Leads while collecting Valuable Data

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DiscoverOrg, the industry-leading sales and marketing intelligence data solution, had several important questions that needed one big answer: how can we use an account-based marketing strategy to better optimize our campaigns and improve alignment with our sales team, while doing it quickly and affordably? With thousands of prospects to qualify and in search of a way to accelerate its sales cycle, DiscoverOrg didn’t just need a home run; it wanted a grand slam. That’s when Campaign Stars stepped up to bat.

Campaign Stars met with key stakeholders at all levels of DiscoverOrg to learn their specific brand insight, vision, and voice, then hit the ground running to generate fast results. Campaign Stars dove right in, creating a marketing trends survey targeted at 2000 of DiscoverOrg’s A-level prospects, generating dozens of responses within 24 hours and hundreds of valuable data points in the process. The survey also allowed DiscoverOrg to glean priceless insight into the needs and challenges of multiple contact points within each organization, perfectly equipping their sales team to proceed with the account-based strategy they wished.

The immediate and profound success DiscoverOrg enjoyed is hard to overstate. Within the first week, Campaign Stars had generated 65 sales-qualified leads (SQLs), with potent and relevant organizational information about each. To date, the survey has led to over $1 million in pipeline-projected sales. Further, an entire fiscal quarter worth of content based on the survey responses they received is set to launch, including an eBook, a trends report, several blog posts, and webinar to fuel DiscoverOrg’s account-based marketing strategy.

Client Profile

DiscoverOrg is the industry-leader in world-class sales intelligence tools that enable sales, marketing, and staffing professionals to identify the right prospects, establish context for the right message, and make contact at the right time.

Client Challenge

  • Enhance alignment between sales and marketing
  • Accelerate sales cycle
  • Improve lead quality
  • Rapidly develop account-based marketing content

Results

  • Generated 65 highly-qualified leads
  • Created $1 million in projected revenue
  • Gathered 800+ relevant data points about top leads

 

Marketing Survey Results Reveal 3 Main Impact Areas for Success

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Preliminary findings from a survey conducted on behalf of DiscoverOrg and Campaign Stars have revealed some surprising and illuminating results. The organizations sampled marketers, demand generation managers, and executives to learn the biggest and most common challenges to creating effective marketing campaigns. Due to unprecedented response and interest, the survey is being expanded, and you are welcome to make your voice heard by clicking the link below.

Share your story and let your voice be heard by taking the survey! You’ll receive a complimentary gift for your participation – TAKE THE SURVEY NOW!

The preliminary findings shed light on the fact that many organizations are facing the very same problems, over and over, regardless of size and budget.

Content is still King, but the Subjects are Restless

It is astoundingly clear that content creation remains the largest hurdle marketing organizations still face on the road to success, and that the move to account-based marketing models is necessitating a change in the traditional ways organizations create content.

The biggest issue facing marketers remains the challenge of creating compelling enough content assets. In plain English, marketers are plenty happy with their engines; they just don’t have enough fuel. As account-based marketing models grow in popularity (and for good reason), their very nature – personal, conversational, informative – has meant that the demand for good content has grown directly in kind. Even “large” marketing organizations with single-campaign budgets over $10,000 report that creating high-quality content quickly is their biggest challenge. Deep pockets and friendly budgets aren’t enough to fix this demand gen bottleneck; a better content creation model is needed.

Keeping the Content Train On Time & On Track

The second biggest challenge according to respondents is creating content frequently enough. Today, one well-written eBook is unlikely to be enough to walk a potential customer all the way from the moment of discovery to the finish line of a sale. It is an ongoing conversation, one that requires a continuing, uninterrupted cascade of content that allows you to lead your buyer along their journey. This is unsurprising; today, the average potential buyer is more than 50% complete with the buying journey by the time they make first contact with a salesperson. Buying cycles for some products & services are long and take months from discovery to purchase. Others, however, happen fairly quickly, and marketers cannot afford to find themselves handcuffed and hamstrung by their inability to keep up with the demands of modern account-based marketing. Again, even large organizations with seemingly all the resources in the world still find that their campaign velocity is too slow to effectively compete. Whether due to the collaboration and approval processes, or the task itself of designing good content, it’s clear that this particular space is ripe for innovation.

Who’s to Blame for Poor Campaign Performance?

Further, when asked, “What is your biggest challenge around increasing campaign performance?” the top response by far was “Database Integrity.” This makes all the sense in the world: without a reliably accurate set of market intelligence data, you may as well beselling waffles to a pancake. Abraham Lincoln famously said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening my axe.” A properly segmented database is like a sharpened axe; it increases the efficacy of your content exponentially. Indeed, the Direct Marketing Association reports that combining properly segmented market intelligence data with a fully optimized content stream leads to an increased conversion rate of 44-84%.

Share your story and let your voice be heard by taking the survey! You’ll receive a complimentary gift for your participation – TAKE THE SURVEY NOW!

10 Email Subject Line Best Practices

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 Hours spent on the perfect copy, the perfect call-to-action, a cool landing page. You couldn’t have done a better job. Then, you get the results. All of that work, and just a handful of people even read it.

So what contributed to such low open rates?

You can’t underestimate the importance of the subject line. It’s the first thing your recipient sees. It is what will ultimately determine if they will open, delete, ignore, or the dreaded – mark as spam – your email.

8 Quick Email Writing Tips

  1. Write fast. Because that’s how your enthusiasm and personality come through.
  2. Keep it short. Edit your emails with rigor. Long and unwieldy emails slaughter your readers’ interest. Challenge yourself to cut your text by half next time you edit.
  3. Ask questions. Imagine having a face-to-face conversation with your reader. You’d ask questions in that situation, wouldn’t you?
  4. Use the word you, not we. It’s one of the most persuasive words in the English language. 
  5. Add personality. Use words and expressions only you can use. Be human.
  6. Write short, strong sentences. Be to the point. And break high school rules.
  7. Highlight benefits. Don’t sell your product. Instead, sell the benefit it offers your customer.
  8. Show what readers will miss.  They want to avoid inconveniences and complications. Consider rephrasing the benefits of your offer as a problem you’ll help to avoid.