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RollWorks President Robin Bordoli Explains How Small Marketing Teams Can Run Best ABM Programs

According to Robin Bordoli, president of RollWorks, a division of NextRoll, Inc., you don’t need a large team to do ABM (Account-Based Management). You could easily become more account-based, even with a small marketing team of 2 – 10 people! 

Bordoli has worked with hundreds of companies doing ABM before and has found that some of the most successful from them were relatively a lot smaller in size. The thing is that smaller marketing teams have limited time and budgets. And as a result, they tend to come in with the right mindset and take the process very seriously. After all, they can’t afford to waste their resources. So, having a smaller team could actually benefit you more than you may realize.

Before we start the discussion on why ABM is so essential and how it should be made accessible to every company (regardless of size), let’s talk about the misconceptions surrounding ABM.

Why is ABM Perceived In Such A Bad Light?

Most marketers seem to be under the perception that ABM implies exploiting your higher-value clients by doing things such as sending them (physical) gifts or taking them out to a baseball game. People also think that ABM is very expensive, mostly human-powered, can only be for a small, known number of accounts (such as the top 50 or so), and is mainly only for marketers. However, as Bordoli clarifies, that’s actually the description of field marketing. 

So, why is it that people perceive ABM in this way?

Well, for starters, since ABM is fundamentally about taking advantage of resources, people think that small-to-medium-sized businesses can’t use it. Then, there’s also the fact that it’s mostly inaccessible to organizations (or at least, seem that way).

But Bordoli wants to dispel these myths and help us see what ABM can do, even for small-sized businesses. 

What Is ABM, Really?

The reality is that ABM can be utilized by ALL kinds of companies – from small to large-scale enterprises. Moreover, unlike what common perception suggests, it can be digital, fast, and completely affordable.

That aside, ABM isn’t powered by humans anymore. That model is outdated now. On the contrary, it’s operated by data and machine learning.

It’s not for a small number of accounts; it can be for thousands of accounts. And it’s for both known and unknown accounts and the buyers within those accounts.

And finally, ABM isn’t only a marketing team activity. It has to be a collaborative effort between the marketing and the sales team. As Bordoli emphasizes, ABM is about efficiency and focus. When you automate the process and focus on the right accounts, it can be a gamechanger.

ABM At Its Essence

In essence, ABM is an objective, data-driven identification of high-value accounts, and engagement of buying committees within those accounts through coordinated marketing and sales efforts to turn them into customers.

Which Small Teams Are Doing ABM?

Small teams can be powerful and have a tremendous impact when they work together. So here is a list of the five small marketing teams that were successful with ABM.

Let’s take a look at them one by one.

1: AUDITORIA.AI

Marketing Team Size: 1

Industry: Software for Finance Teams

Program Play:

  • Leveraging ABM from Day One
  • The budget laser-focused on 92 priority accounts
  • Awareness campaign to those accounts and outreach

Outcome:

  • 93% of the accounts reached on the TAL
  • 59% of those have visited the Auditoria.ai site
  • 31% of accounts visited are engaged
  • 208% increase in the number of engaged TAL accounts

It should also be noticed that the company is also a HubSpot customer. And with only a one-person marketing team, they were able to work out the top priority accounts and then build campaigns around it. Surely, we can all learn something from their efforts.

2. PERSONIFY

Marketing Team Size: 2

Industry: Software for Nonprofits

Program Play:

  • Top-rate personalization
  • Personalized messages by both stage and persona

Outcome:

  • 39x lift in engaged site visitors
  • 8.5x ROI on marketing-sourced revenue

3. BLACKBAUD

Marketing Team Size: 3

Industry: Software for Nonprofits 

Program Play:

  • Multiple verticals and multiple products
  • Deliver the right message to the right accounts
  • Each campaign focused on boosting interest for only one product from one vertical.

Outcome:

  • 94% of the target account engaged
  • 1000 new followers on social platforms from those target accounts
  • 190% increase in engaged visitors
  • 10x ROI on pipeline generation

4. OKTA

Marketing Team Size: 6

Industry: Identity Management Software

Although a large company, they had a relatively small marketing team of only six and were still successful with ABM. Their strategy was mostly concerned with virtual events, where they brought their customers, prospects, and the whole community together.

Program Play:

  • Five months and 40,000 hours of planning event
  • Pivot to virtual in less than one month
  • Drove registration with multiple-device strategy
  • Three distinct personas per account
  • A concise list of targets (Named, Enterprise, Commercial)

Outcome:

  • 25,000 unique visits
  • 900+ attendees in top breakout sessions
  • 316% increase in registration from the in-person event
  • 191% increase in unique visits from target accounts
  • 25% increase in accounts engaged

The company was able to encourage the right people to turn up at the event and build deeper connections with those accounts.

5. NS1

Marketing Team Size: 10

Industry: Traffic and DNS Management

They used digital-first ABM to target “skeptical buyers” with a new product.

Program Play:

  • New product targeting “skeptical” technical buyers who didn’t respond to traditional channels (like direct mail)
  • Took a digital-first approach from day one
  • Used machine-learning to double the size of TAL initially identified by sales (10,000 to 20,000)
  • Further identified 3200 accounts displaying intent signals and invested more in these.

Outcome: (in five months)

  • 69x increase in new pipeline creation
  • 3x increase in ROI influenced revenue
  • 498% lift in unique visitors from target accounts

How Is ABM Different from Lead-Based Marketing?

Lead-based marketing is mainly about the marketing funnel; through various strategies, businesses can generate leads and attract customers into the funnel. But its limitation is the potential outside that funnel that you may end up missing out on. So, let’s talk about some of the benefits of account-based marketing.

  1. ABM prioritizes the account first and people second. According to Robin Bordoli, ABM operates this way because companies buy software, not people (B2B). And so, ABM allows you to take a more effective marketing approach.
  2. ABM allows you to discover your most high-value accounts and then prioritize them instead of spreading yourself thin over various channels that bring you no ROI.
  3. ABM opens up the market outside of your funnel. You can then engage and focus on buyers who are interested in your brand and relevant to you.

Key Takeaway

ABM is definitely comparable to lead-based marketing and can help your organization make significant strides with your consumer base – only if you know how to implement it the right way. As Bordoli demonstrated in his Inbound presentation, most people are unaware of what ABM really is and what it can do. There’s also a lot of misconception around how ABM is only for large businesses when, in reality, it can be utilized by marketing teams of any size. In one of the examples the speaker mentioned, it even meant a one-person marketing team! 

So, no matter what your organization’s size is, you, too, can use ABM as a strategy to grow your consumer base. It’s time to set aside our preconceived notions and learn what the new world of ABM has to offer us.

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