A Q&A With Snowflake Computing’s Daniel Day (Part 2 of 2)
Planning ABM is one thing. Making it produce results is another. EverString sat down with Daniel Day, Director of Account Based Marketing at Snowflake Computing and an emerging thought leader in the space to learn his secrets for ongoing ABM success.
This is Part-2 of 2 of the interview. Missed the beginning? Read Part-1.
Q: What was the first step you took in launching account-based marketing (ABM)?
Day: Probably the fact that our sales team is account-aligned. I’ve been at organizations where that wasn’t the case and I spent a lot of time advocating for ABM and not a lot of time doing it.
We started with data – that’s the foundation. We took rich market data from partners like EverString and applied it to everything from territory planning to sales operations and account selection for our enterprise field sales teams.
Good data is the reason we’ve been able to grow our team and hire additional business development reps and account executives: We understand the exact value of each territory.
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How do you plan sales territories?
Our territories are geographically-based because we want sellers out having face-to-face meetings, not waiting at airports. We’ll even divide companies up if they have multiple locations. When a big account is headquartered in San Jose but has an office in New York, we have two accounts, one for each location. A local rep owns each.
That said, within each geo, each rep only owns a maximum of 100 accounts. We advocate that they own much less than that. Their regional account directors hold the rest.
“Unless the account is showing active intent in the marketplace, has really high velocity, and has the right deal-size fit, we don’t pay attention.” – Daniel Day, Director of ABM at Snowflake Computing
To score accounts, we use a fit-intent-engagement model to auto-assign accounts that meet really rigorous thresholds for engagement. Unless the account is showing active intent in the marketplace, has really high velocity, and has the right deal-size fit, we don’t pay attention. We know the number we need to hit each year and we feel like if we stay focused on accounts we know are an excellent fit, our reps will close more deals.
How does that scoring model work?
There are three steps in creating our data model. The first is capturing rich engagement data from our content, field events, trade shows, and webinars. We roll that up to an account level as an engagement number.
Second is the rich account and intent data we access through EverString and its integration with Bombora. We think of intent as engagement data that’s happening inside the marketplace that we’re not capturing in our own database.
“Creating data models is fairly simple. We took our 50 fastest deals ever and applied EverString’s machine learning to find like accounts. Same with our 50 biggest deals.” – Daniel Day, Director of ABM at Snowflake Computing
Third and finally, we create a few separate models so we can see how our overall model decides its scores. We’ve created three of these contributor models through EverString: two for enterprise, one of which measures velocity and the other which measures deal size, and a third one for our commercial market. We marry those models with firmographics, number of employees, specific technologies those companies are using, IT spend, and number of IT employees. For commercial accounts, we also add funding reports.
Creating data models is fairly simple. We took our 50 fastest deals ever and applied EverString’s machine learning to find like accounts. Same with our 50 biggest deals. We then roll all that data up into a single account score, A, B, C, or D. But we also break it down in the CRM so it’s not a black box.
How important is sales alignment for ABM?
If I can stress one thing, it’s building that bridge between sales and marketing. You need that golden trust that’s based on rich account intelligence.
Throughout my career, I was always told that marketing shouldn’t get involved in sales account selection – that marketers shouldn’t go into Salesforce to assign accounts. But you have rich information on the accounts that the sales team doesn’t have, that’s a different story.
“Wouldn’t you like to know the entirety of what’s out there, rather than deciding based on just the accounts in the database?” – Daniel Day, Director of ABM at Snowflake Computing
Once I had rich account information at Snowflake, I could go to sales leaders and say, “Wouldn’t you like to know the entirety of what’s out there, rather than deciding based on just the accounts in the database? Wouldn’t you rather have every account and then let the data talk?” Most of them did.
About 4-5 months ago, we more than doubled the size of our account database. And instead of using our preconceived ideas around industry categories, we let the data speak for itself. It works – we’ve increased our sales team from 25 to 100 people to keep up with the demand in just in the past year.
Curious how EverString does ABM? Read How We Built A Platinum ABM Stack At EverString
Does Snowflake still practice demand-gen? What’s the balance?
We still have an excellent demand-gen operation. It’s a hybrid model – there’s over twenty people on our marketing team that act as a one-to-a-few marketing division that partially caters to our self-service business. We aren’t turning people away who come asking for a free trial. But for those accounts to get into the hands of our field sellers, there has to be a really great opportunity.
Our commercial reps handle most of those deals and they’re wholly self-fed. They tackle all the leads that fall outside of those definitions, and everything our BDRs don’t touch.
What advice do you have for marketers just getting into ABM?
Start with executive buy-in and don’t go halfway. It’s easy to start an account-based practice with just a handful of accounts and tools but it’s hard to show real value on a small scale. Often, marketers add guard rails and make it too complicated.
Here at Snowflake, we got full executive buy-in and sales alignment early and it has made all the difference. I always join our sales quarterly business reviews to hear what the guys and girls are committing.
“I’ll never talk to you about ROI, MQLs, or SLAs. The only thing we’ll talk about is driving good coverage on each account and measuring engagement in a way that brings value to you.” – Daniel Day, Director of ABM at Snowflake Computing
My spiel, when I’m invited to talk, is this: Our ABM team is here to support you and to make your job easier. I want to bring you account intelligence and support you in whatever choices you make. I’ll never talk to you about ROI, MQLs, or SLAs. The only thing we’ll talk about is driving good coverage on each account and measuring engagement in a way that brings value to you.
Building that trust with the sales team is what allows us as account-based marketers to have free reign and not be beholden to traditional marketing metrics. It also lets us innovate. At Snowflake, that’s been a really successful approach.
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