How to Model Pipeline Impact from ABM Advertising Programs

It’s that time of the year. Many B2B companies are deep in their 2020 marketing planning cycle. Demand gen leaders at both mid-to-large enterprises, and high growth B2B SaaS startups, are seeking smarter ways to deploy their program budgets. They want minimal risk, clear visibility, and maximum positive impact on their pipeline, as they evaluate new program options to reach and engage their hard-to-reach senior buyers at target accounts.

Did you know that Account-based (ABM) advertising is arguably the second most cost-effective way for you to spend your 2020 program budget (after nurture emails sent from your marketing automation platform) to reach and engage exactly the right buyers at your target accounts.

Here, explained in this post and live for you to test out in our Interactive Modeler, is a simple model that shows how just a $35,000 quarterly spend (or $140,000 annual spend) in ABM advertising, when deployed alongside a few other key marketing programs (marketing emails, site retargeting, and account-level insights off your website) can drive over $7 million in qualified pipeline for you in 2020. 

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The Business Impact of ABM Advertising: Measurement Best Practices

Account-based (ABM) advertising programs offer a new way to reach and engage the “hard-to-reach” senior buyers at target accounts. Here a B2B company starts by identifying a set of target accounts, specific buyer personas at those accounts (e.g. Director of IT) and then targets those accounts with display ads. With high-quality targeting data (online cookies or business IP ranges) we are able to target exactly the right accounts and buyers with minimal media waste, to drive high levels of engagement. Traditional display programs have been all about leads or form-fills. ABM advertising programs offer much richer engagement metrics and new ways to measure and prove business impact.

Business Impact Measurement – Some Best Practices

Here are some best practices for demonstrating positive impact from your investment in ABM advertising programs:

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“ZeroTouch-to-Lead”: The Revenue Gap in Your Demand Funnel

For the past decade or so, B2B marketers have been using the SiriusDecisions demand waterfall to build out a demand generation funnel to nurture and route leads, track lead status and their sales pipeline. Companies have spent millions of dollars trying to fill the top of that waterfall or funnel with leads. Many marketers have optimized their funnel stages to push as many qualified leads as possible, that Marketing can pass onto Sales. Millions more have been spent on marketing automation (MAP) and customer relationship (CRM) platforms.

Over the past three years B2B companies have started investing in technologies and tools to help transform their current lead-based demand generation processes using “Account-Based Marketing (ABM).” Much has been written about ABM. If you are new to the space, the responses to this question on Quora can help:

Whether you are a large, global, B2B enterprise or a B2B SaaS software business, you have a broad range of platforms and tools to help you build out your ABM tech stack and put together an ABM strategy for your company.

However; while making these investments, most marketers have overlooked the stage between the very top of the funnel and when a lead is identified. We call this stage “ZeroTouch-to-Lead.”

From ZeroTouch to Lead: A Critical Revenue Gap for Demand Marketers Today

Today’s marketing and sales technology platforms and tools are great at managing, analyzing and driving demand, once a buyer from a target account has identified themselves by filling out a form (a “Lead”). There are many platforms and tools that can assist once you have leads in your pipeline.

However, as the visual below shows, today’s tools completely miss the “ZeroTouch-to-Lead” stage, at the very front end of the process. With ABM, you’d start with accounts first, identify your buying groups (called “Demand Units” by SiriusDecisions) at those accounts, as well as their buyer personas (or profiles). Then track engagement and interactions with all the members of the buying groups, whether they fill out a form (turn into a lead) or not, all along the buyer journey. You would map out your buyer journeys across the entire buying group in the aggregate, or map out journeys of individual buyers from that account.

Given new online B2B audience data that is now available, marketers can provide actionable insights on the ZeroTouch-to-Lead stage buyers to enterprise sales teams, before the buyers have self-identified (with their email address). Continue reading

ABM is Not a Horse Race: An Open Letter to Analyst Firms

Dear “Big Brand” Analyst Firm,

We just reviewed your latest ABM Landscape Report, which has a nice looking visual placing 10+ different ABM vendors in an X-Y layout, with one well-funded vendor in the coveted “top right corner”. You approached us earlier this year to participate. You collected a lot of detailed information. Your lead analyst spent 45 minutes 1:1 with us, at a recent industry event “to pick our brains”. You featured us in your first ABM report a year ago. Our business has grown stronger since, with many new, global, B2B enterprise clients. And yet, you sent us a letter that said:

“We will not be including your company in the upcoming ABM Landscape Report. The analysts writing this report considered a number of factors in making this decision, such as vendor revenue, product revenue, breadth of offering, and interest from our clients.”

At first we were concerned. Then we were confused. And now that we have reviewed your report, we want to say:

“Thank You for Not Including Us!”

With all respect to our fellow ABM vendors and partners, we’d like to provide you and your peer Analyst Firms with some feedback of our own: Continue reading