Marketing technology really can’t afford to get much more complex, can it? The average marketer now has 91 software tools and less free time than ever.
The clutter is especially bad in ABM which is flooded with point solutions for engagement, targeting, calling, emailing, and more. Each has their own login and interface. Each demands a fraction of your mindshare.
To make ABM work, it’s critical to connect them all – including their data – and build what I call a platinum ABM stack.
Here is how we did it at EverString.
How we built a platinum ABM stack at EverString in 6 steps:
Step #1: We started with a CRM and marketing core
First thing’s first: We started with our stack core. We wanted to keep our options open and maximize our ability to customize so we chose our core tools based on their range of functionality plus the number of integrations they offered.
Whether you practice ABM or not, I always recommend starting with Salesforce CRM. It’s the biggest platform and its AppExchange offers more integrations than any other. It’s also adaptable and considered best-in-breed for sales and marketing but also finance and customer service. On top of Salesforce, we layered my personal favorite marketing automation system, Marketo.
As a veteran of Marketo, I know the ins and outs and feel that it’s the most versatile (you can build practically anything with its open-ended automation rules) but is still easy enough to use after a little on-boarding. Similar to Salesforce, Marketo also has a huge ecosystem of integrated martech partners.
Step #2: We filled the core with best-in-class data
Next, we used our own technology, EverString, to determine which accounts we should target. ABM experts generally agree that without knowing who to target, an ABM program is bound to fail.
EverString Audience Platform helps you find and score high-fit companies that are both inside and outside your database.
If you don’t have the right accounts, it’s like going out to deliver a package without consulting a map. And if you think ABM tactics like direct mailers and field events are expensive, they’re infinitely more expensive if you’re sending them to the wrong people. Simply, you need to find the right people.
EverString excels at finding the right accounts because we’ve pioneered an entirely new data creation process. Whereas legacy vendors resell static lists, EverString uses an algorithm plus humans. The algorithm ingests all the classic data sources and trawls the web at scale but when it runs into something it’s unsure about, it spins up a cluster of distributed cloud workers. They teach it by consensus and once the algorithm learns, it never forgets. The result is that the data has greater coverage, depth, and accuracy – and it’s always up-to-date.
EverString Audience Platform (EAP) can:
- Find the high-fit companies in your database.
- Find the high-fit companies not in your database.
- Score and prioritize all those accounts.
Want to find your high-fit accounts? Request a demo of EverString.
We used EAP’s algorithm to evaluate all our historical closed-won deals and developed an account score. We enriched that score with intent data from Bombora, which showed us which of our accounts were actively researching us. More on that later.
We then built a dynamic Salesforce report we call the FIRE Dashboard that ranked all our companies on the best available data. We gave access to everyone up and down the sales and marketing organization.
EverString’s FIRE Dashboard shows the best-of-the-best accounts.
Step #3: We added a sales automation platform
Next, we added a platform for our sales and sales development (SDR) teams to engage with prospects. I will admit, when we initially purchased SalesLoft, it wasn’t intended to be part of our ABM stack. But when the company released ABM features, it became indispensable.
At first, our sales and account development teams only used it to reach out to individuals based on our EverString scoring model. But Salesloft’s lead-focused Prospect Pages matured into account-based Company Pages. Suddenly, our teams could identify the buyer and everyone surrounding them to engage the whole team in an automated yet personal fashion.
SalesLoft helps sales teams automate ABM outreach.
We used Salesloft to build cadences that spoke to prospects in their own language based on their position as a practitioner, a director or an executive. This freed up our AEs and SDRs from outreach activity metrics that didn’t necessarily align with our revenue goals. They could spend more time engaging the right accounts.
Step #4: We began tracking account-level engagement
Next, we needed to understand how all the individuals within each account were engaging with us, so we added Engagio as our ABM platform.
Whereas marketing automation like Marketo can reveal engagement data for individuals, Engagio goes further and reveals engagement data for buying committees within each account. This afforded us real-time insight into which programs were resonating with each buying center so our sales teams could prioritize their outreach. For any companies still practicing inbound, this is a huge departure and a big advantage.
Engagio shows engagement across buying committees.
For example, consider the old inbound way of doing things. Suppose an SDR receives a marketing qualified lead (MQL) that is highly engaged. The SDR reaches out and gets no response. That SDR would probably move on to the next MQL for a new account, even if the rest of the old account was eager to buy.
With Engagio, that SDR can determine if others in the account are engaged and if they choose to expand their outreach, even if other contacts haven’t crossed the qualification threshold.
Additionally, a marketer can see that an account is highly engaged. If the SDR can’t get ahold of the contacts there, the marketer can coordinate more plays like a direct mailer or an email from the CEO. With an ABM platform, the whole revenue team knows how to rally around the best-fit accounts.
Step #5: We prioritized high-fit accounts with intent data
Next, we purchased intent data from Bombora. Bombora operates a data co-op where millions of companies provide information on which prospects are researching what and where. If people across a target account of yours read an article on Forbes, downloaded a white paper from Gartner, or read reviews on G2Crowd, Bombora indicates that the account is ‘surging’ on a topic of interest.
Bombora’s data co-op tracks some of the most valuable sites on the internet.
Having Bombora is like having a marketing automation pixel on everyone else’s sites. It was a complete game changer for us. We layered their intent data upon our EverString account data and Marketo and Engagio engagement data to paint a crystal-clear picture of all the companies which are both high-fit for us and currently in buying mode.
Want to learn more about intent? Read What Are Teams Supposed To Do With Intent Data?
Step #6: We topped it all off with ABM ads
Paid ads have always had a reputation for being expensive and bringing in bottom-of-the-barrel leads. But that’s why we completed our stack with Terminus. Terminus allows us to target ads at the high-fit accounts determined by our EverString scoring model.
Instead of trying to boil the ocean with ads for all, we were able to advertise to just the contacts of our target accounts. We stopped wasting money targeting accounts that were never going to buy from us.
I have found that ads are an important ABM channel because used tactically, they expand our reach into the accounts where email, telephone, and direct mailers haven’t worked. We can get our logo and messaging in front of the right people regardless of whether they’ve opted-in to our mailing list, visited us at trade shows, or talked to our reps.
Terminus helps sales and marketing teams extend their ABM reach.
Putting it all together
There you have our platinum stack. It’s a solid core upon which we added account data, sales automation, an ABM platform, intent data, and ABM ads. It’s versatile, extensible, and gives us the functionality we need to flip our funnel and land target accounts.
What does your ABM stack look like?
Want to find your high-fit accounts? Request a demo of EverString.