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ABM “LITE” Part #3: ABM Launch and Always-On

These are the core metrics you want to measure for a  successful ABM programme:  

Training for sales — You need to set expectations with  your sales team about the volume and type of leads  that come in from ABM. Each representative should  have clear expectations set around what sales activities to engage in, how quickly they should respond, how  much longer sales cycles will be, how they should educate leads, etc. Here are suggestions on improvements  in sales capabilities to support ABM. The team should  be trained and coached to increase capability levels in  these three areas. 

The biggest drivers of ABM and Outbound success.  

• Prospecting — reps knowing how to prospect effectively, how to write curiosity based emails/ LI messages that get responses. You need to use psychological  frameworks to improve conversion rates. 

• Discovery capability — being clear on the value proposition to motivate buyers effectively into the next steps. Campaign effectiveness  

• Nurturing — how to effectively nurture enterprise level  prospects, both personally and through marketing. 

You must ensure your messaging delivers the following  structure:  

[1] Motivate your prospect to rethink  

[2] Make your prospect curious  

[3] Give your prospect evidence  

[4] Create a ‘next step’ layer  

ABM Always-On Process

ABM will only work if you run always-on, engaging and  strategic campaigns. Do not launch campaigns in siloes. True ABM is a strategic play. Your goal as the ABM leader  is to ensure that your vision builds momentum, the narrative to market and the campaign stream is ongoing.  

You need to create a lead management, nurture system  that ensures you do not lose leads and sales / SDRs are  held accountable. Create connected nurture streams in  SFDC between sales & marketing. 

• On the lead (contact) sales picks a drop down, get  back in touch in 30/60/180 days. 

• If “no activity within X number of days” email nurture  is triggered. 

• 180 days will be different to 30 / 60. DO NOT do break  up email - the email nurtures need to focus on build ing curiosity. 

• If “engaged” through sales, nurture will not trigger. 

Implementation of sales certification. Plan to have all  team members certified in the company pitch (all com mercial teams, including Marketing) as part of a training  process to ensure consistency. Get everyone to learn the  pitch via a whiteboard (not slide decks)

Increase the cross-over between new business and cus tomer marketing by placing customers and their stories  at the heart of marketing efforts.

Create specific digital marketing strategies for product  marketing and have a continuous launch process. Build  a product launch framework that integrates with the ABM  work-flows.  

Build a customer advisory panel, or external customer  council to build better relationships with our Tier 1 cus tomers (example here) and create a forum for their  voices and feedback to be heard. Build a thought leader ship platform based on research and empirical evidence  that gives back to the market. 

Optimise Linkedin. Here are some suggestions.  

• Using CEO profile to send connections and messaging  via direct inmail. 

• Audience buyer team retargeting in accounts (i.e.  upload your sales pipeline to drive awareness ads  into multiple stake-holders presumed involved in the  account)

• Improve ad messaging with concrete language that  solves a specific challenge. “Hey customer, here’s  how we can help you solve one specific problem.” 

• Company wide branding of your business through  employees. Banner image on profiles, exact company  messaging on all profiles and content added to profiles.  

• Individuals posting content to their networks (enabled  by marketing)

• Leveraging 1st degree connections of the Exec team. Marketing should use a ‘C’ level account to distribute  content on a regular cadence each month through  messaging or posting. 

• Using automated tools (i.e. Zopto) to have always-on  brand awareness i.e. visiting profiles, asking for connections and sharing pieces of content. 


• Targeting company followers with more specific messaging and content.  

• Adding to discussions, search “Your Solution” — distributed content to persona’s in ICP and discussions. Regular engagement in contacts, posting discussions.  

• Use a group Sales Navigator account to manage the  business network (and prevent lost contacts when  people leave the business)

• Start custom audience targeting in existing accounts  using LinkedIn. And the Tier 1 accounts. 

• LinkedIn ads will cost in the range of £5.00+ - £17.00+  (at the higher end LinkedIn is expensive for acquisi tion but in B2B it’s where the audience is, and for that  you pay a premium). You will have to consider budget  levels because using a low budget where clicks vanish  early in the mornings, is ineffective and does not help  your ads alongside the algorithm. 

• An alternative strategy to net new acquisition of contacts is to start with your database. Look at website  visitors. Current pipeline. Current newsletter subscribers. High intent prospects. Lost leads and opportuni ties. Start your advertising with those in mind to bal ance the costs in a more affordable and foundational  start-point. This is custom audience targeting in exist ing accounts using LinkedIn. You should have your Tier  1 accounts included. NB. Be careful with custom audi ence targeting because most profiles on LinkedIn are  attached to personal emails. Whereas most prospects  in your database will likely have company email ad dresses. 

• An extra tip. If your budgets are small, you can retar get on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. This will  lower your acquisition costs. But it may not be where  your core audience spends their focus.  

• Send direct 1:1 emails en-masse — a recent feature  added over the last six months. 

• The end goal is to have a pincer movement on ac counts. Marketing provides top-cover. SDR outbound  with curious and relevant messaging. AE’s hyper-per sonal Tier 1 prospecting. Customer Success focuses on  driving customer value. If you connect all the streams,  you will be successful. 

Sales Performance to ABM goals. Help reps understand  what good / OK / bad looks like by implementing a RAG  system. Here is a template. This is not performance management but it helps to understand what types of activities are required to be successful — you can then monitor weekly. 

Organise the team around speed of getting results.  • Monday kick-off. 

• Daily stand-ups. 

• Weekly peer-review on learning opportunities.

• Monthly peer-review of sales discovery calls. 

• Make it fun. Offer short term incentives and SPIFFs to  drive behaviors. Have team goals and not just individual goals. 

• Joint sales, marketing and customer success meetings to review account based dashboards. 

ABM cross-sell & upsell. Organise the team with a focus  on cross-selling/ upselling to existing accounts. Order  the accounts regarding a) you can solve a new problem in their roadmap and b) relationship to leverage. Build  the list in prioritization order. Build a contact list of correct personas in the business. Leverage relationships to  approach the right ICP. Put a commercial person in place  to look at developing this revenue. Launch a top-cover  campaign through marketing to this customer list. 

Leveraging events. Events or digi’vents need to be connected to the design of the funnel plan and how the  touchpoint is connected to what happens next. 


• You need to decide on the narrative and messaging  leading up to the event. 

• Campaign on that narrative using social and tagging  organisers or fellow sponsors who do not compete. 

• Pre-book meetings before the event (if you can ac cess data, most events give you an app or some thing). Target marketing on securing meetings in  advance of event attendance. 

• Campaigns leading to events should be connected to  broader content plans and campaign to ensure con nected messaging is going to the market. 

Marketing need to plan a workflow to what happen with  event leads.  

• Send to rep for follow up. 

• Adding to CRM nurture. 

• Messaging for follow ups (most event leads drop off  within 48 hours — how do you capture the opportunity  in advance?) 

• Agree targets around the events (if the goal is not just  brand awareness) in terms of meetings booked and  opportunities created. 

• Owned events. Create a webinar series that links to  the content themes agreed upon. Create a movement  (for example, one year, I ran a series called ‘The Sum mer of Payments’) not just single webinars. It could be  promoted on LI and social. 

Product marketing. Treat each monthly post campaign  as a product launch. Have a strategy of continuous  launch. Nobody cares about your product launch. A con tinuous launch helps to address reach. 

Create a customer-only ‘Insiders’ newsletter to help  cross-sell and upsell. The purpose is to create some thing valuable to current customers. New offerings,  events, information and/or product tips that are helpful  to the buyer. This will help inbound and account expansion. 

Improve opportunity conversions. Create a cadence of  “offers” for the sales team to arm them with more effective ways of closing deals. Some ideas:  

• Increase Value Instead of Discounting 

• Bundle Up 

• Buy more, get more  

• Rebates 

• Give them exclusive limited access — exclusive access  as the platform is new???  

Improve opportunity conversions. Understand where deals get stuck (research stalled, lost or won deals). Normally deal velocity is a problem when the solution is not compelling enough for immediate action. If you can research buying decisions from previous won or those stalled — why did they not go ahead. You can create a strategy to mitigate. It normally involves aligning customer challenges to incentives and helping them under stand why they need to buy sooner. Linked to incentives. 

Need to bucket the deals together at some point to look  for commonalities, i.e. industry and size of the deal. Gather the data on each bucket of deal type. Once you have done that, look at the averages in closed-won or those  that are stuck. Look at the data as to why it stalled and/ or why it won. Gather information and retro on the deals  won and do this for each bucket. You can then start to  make assumptions about the factors affecting velocity. 

Implement what’s called an Engagement Plan — this  is what in the old-days would refer to as a closure plan. But close plans are self-serving to the buyer. The Engagement plan is more focused on creating value in the middle stages of the deal to create a pathway to closing  the deal and the customer having a great experience. 

This serves two roles: 

• Qualifies opps out quicker  

• Closes the deal quicker and more predictable 

Example: Engagement Plan 

Create ongoing content that provides thought leader ship on customer objections. This content can be used  when deals are stuck. Audit content every month to  analyse results. Don’t keep producing more without un derstanding what is working. 

Have a rolling offer available to stuck deals (not just  about discounting) but get creative. Sign up before this  date and get extra stuff or discounts. 

Other Ideas. Increase both deal size and speed to close. Create personal relationships with the entire buying unit at our key accounts to uncover potential blockers, advocates and champions. Target in a pincer movement  across SDR, Marketing, AE and CSM teams. 


[1] Use the MarTech stack and supplier landscape to  identify and engage with buyers. 

[2] Interview and approach other buyers to take part in  thought leadership interviews as a process to engage.  

[3] Build the relationships between sales/CS leads and  the entire decision-making unit to increase sales velocity  and deal sizes. Do custom audience retarget using LI for  accounts in the deal process. 

Advanced SaaS metrics. Work out deal velocity in the  next 6-9 months and CAC; important for SaaS. Work out  future data models, insights and attribution to ABM campaigns. You will need data history to get to this next step. 

CAC: quisition-cost-cac-ratio-another-subtle-saas-metric/

Deal Velocity: Gross Margin Adjusted CAC Payback 

Demonstrating the ability to efficiently acquire customers is the fifth aspect of a successful quarter. The metric used to measure this is my second-favourite SaaS  metric (behind net revenue retention): Gross Margin  Adjusted CAC Payback. It’s a mouthful, but this metric is  important because it demonstrates how sustainable a  company’s growth is. In theory, any growth rate is possible with an unlimited budget to hire AEs. 

However, if these AEs aren’t hitting quota and the OTE  (base + commission) you’re paying them doesn’t justify their revenue, your business will burn through money. This is unsustainable. Because of the recurring nature of  SaaS revenue, you can afford to have paybacks longer  than one year. In fact, this is quite normal. 

All that said, Gross Margin Adjusted CAC Payback is relatively simple to calculate. You divide the previous quarter’s S&M expense (fully burdened CAC) by the net new  ARR added in the current quarter (new logo ARR + Expansion – Churn – Contraction) multiplied by the gross  margin. You then multiply this by 12 to get the number of  months it takes to pay back CAC. 

(Previous Q S&M) / (Net New ARR x Gross Margin) x 12 

A simpler way to calculate net new ARR is by taking the  current quarter’s ARR and subtracting the ending ARR  from one quarter prior. Like net revenue retention, I’ve  built up benchmarks to evaluate private companies’ per formance. I generally classify any payback <12 months  as best in class, 12–24 months as good, and anything >24  months as subpar. The public company data for pay back doesn’t match up nicely with my net revenue retention benchmarks. 

The primary reason for this is that public companies  can afford to have longer paybacks. At $200M+ ARR,  businesses have built up a substantial base of recurring revenue streams that have already paid back their initial CAC. Their ongoing revenue can “fund” new logo  acquisition and allow the business to operate profitably  at paybacks much larger than private companies (with  smaller ARR bases) can afford. 

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