ABM adoption is on the rise and marketers are reaping the benefits — in fact, 86% say it boosts win rates. According to Justin Gray, Founder and CEO of LeadMD, the key to outperforming organizational expectations is developing an ABM strategy that is buyer centric and rooted in the right metrics. Gray shared his thoughts on the latest ABM trends, key metrics for getting started and more in an interview with Demand Gen Report.
Demand Gen Report: The event theme this year is “seeing B2B through a new lens.” What advice would you give marketers looking to evolve their strategies and successfully change things up this year? Are there any examples that come to mind of B2B orgs looking at their sales and/or marketing through a new lens?
Justin Gray: There’s a big looming trend in marketing and I think, fortunately for the profession, that trend is both simplicity and a return to fundamentals. For so long, marketing has been so inundated with technology that everyone simply wants to get back to true good, old fashioned, buyer-centric marketing that can show results. ABM has created the freedom to say, “what we’re doing hasn’t worked.”
For this reason, we see a lot of organizations for whom ABM actually doesn’t make sense to adopt a hybrid demand gen/ABM model that most are calling targeted demand gen. Well, not surprisingly — that’s marketing! If ABM gives everyone the license to question volume and velocity performance, home in on the broken areas and get the organizational buy-in for change. I’m 1000% for it because it’s providing a lot of clarity that just wasn’t acceptable five years ago.
DGR: What are you most excited about to discuss during your ABM panel?
Gray: I’m really excited to share hard numbers and results. I think we’ve all had enough of the lip service — marketers and the organizations they support are looking for intentionality and tangible results.
DGR: What trends are you seeing in the ABM space?
Gray: A lot of hunger for a true, buyer-centric approach. For the first time, we’re seeing real organizational alignment around getting deep into the buyer’s wants, needs and language. As a result, marketers are taking a big step back to take a dozen forward. That big step is data, research and ultimately, actionable insights. We have to get to the root of what serves the customer and make it the charge of the marketing department to steward that mission — across the entire customer lifecycle.
DGR: What new metrics do you believe are important to measuring ABM success?
Gray: For the first year of an ABM program, I believe you have to set accurate expectations around three things:
- Coverage: how much of your ideal customer profile is represented in your database with accurate and relevant information and insights (that are kept clean)?
- Engagement: how well are you doing at getting the attention of the entire buying committee within those organizations?
- Penetration: are you stimulating early-stage conversations within these accounts and gathering the information that will allow you to position yourself as a value source for them?
For organizations with shorter buying cycles, you can also start to see target account pipeline and perhaps even target account revenue, which are simply new lenses placed on very traditional metrics. It’s also incredible that marketing is now monitoring these previously “sales-driven metrics,” so that’s a win in and of itself.
DGR: What else can attendees expect to learn from the panel at B2BMX 2019?
Gray: I’m hoping to present ABM through different lenses based on a number of customer examples that have the common thread of ABM go-to-market strategies but vary in terms of product type. I think everyone can take value from the fundamentals of ABM, but the magic comes in applying the right mix for your business.
DGR: What are you hoping to learn more about at B2BMX 2019? Are there any sessions you’re looking forward to?
Gray: I’m always most interested to hear the creativity that marketers bring. We have to break free from this ‘E-book’ repetition that really started to become a dangerous trend, meaning that someone would read a Marketo or HubSpot E-book and blindly started implementing blanket tactics.
I love hearing the results that only come from a highly intentional alignment of corporate strategy to marketing strategy, then following a deliberate planning process that ensures success and is executed really well. The magic ingredient is of course people. That’s the element you can’t get from a framework. Marketers are extremely creative and we’re really seeing a rebirth of creativity as you truly have to stand out these days to acquire mindshare. For that reason, I’m really looking forward to Lee Odden’s session, as I think the stuff TopRank Marketing is putting out is really unique.