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Time for an ABM Tune-Up: Seven Tips for B2B Marketers to Apply in 2022

Posted June 6, 2022

Time for an ABM Tune-Up: Seven Tips for B2B Marketers to Apply in 2022

Posted June 6, 2022

Account Based Marketing (ABM) has become a widely used marketing tactic that has proven results, but it doesn’t mean ABM is easy and that it’s a “set it and forget it” tactic. B2B marketers should regularly seek to fine-tune their approach to improve insights, communication and accuracy – and the time to do that is now so that your ABM program kicks off successfully in Q1.

Join Anthony Carraturo, SVP Performance Marketing at Anteriad, for this 30-minute lunch and learn session and get tips for giving your ABM program a tune-up and creating a well-oiled revenue machine.

Key Takeaways:
– The need to pay attention to the stories your customers are telling you
– Territory marketing or marking? Look beyond your safe zone
– Intent = Leads, your new currency for 2022
– No such thing as a one-hit wonder – importance of content cadence

See the specific chapters below:

00:00 – Introductions

04:13 – Top Challenges For Account Based Marketers Heading Into A New Year

05:17 – Tip #1: Learn From Your Best Customers

07:53 – Tip #2: Be Open To New Markets

10:08 – Tip #3: Time Your Outreach & Optimize On Cyclical Buying

10:51 – Tip #4: Let Intent Be Your Guide

12:52 – Tip #5: Do Some Competitive Research

13:43 – Tip #6: Rethink Your Sales Categories, Territories and Accounts

15:15 – Tip #7: Feed Your Sales & Account Team

18:16 – Review & Rethink Your Accounts

19:36 – Use Content Syndication To Warm Up Your ABM Files

22:07 – Your Customer Is The Foundation Of What Your Next Customer Is Going To Look Like

23:52 – What Is Required In An ABM File To Activate Across Programs?

00:00 – Introductions

Dee Blohm: Hi everyone. Welcome to today’s webinar presented by Merit B2B and featuring our own Anthony Carraturo. I’m Dee Blohm SVP of Marketing here at Merit B2B and we’re glad that you could join us today for this end-of-year tune-up. I apologize that our webcams are not functioning across the org today.

You’re just going to get audio only, but I swear it’s a live event. So, our goal today is to provide you at Seven Tips to Ready your ABM Engines for 2022. And just a little bit of housekeeping. Our webinar should last just under 40 minutes, and please feel free to post your questions in the Q&A box that you see within the platform.

We’ll do our very best, Anthony and I, to answer your questions either during the webinar or directly after. Also, at the end of the webinar, I ask you to hold on because we’re going to direct you to some great follow-up assets for your 2022 ABM program. So just a little bit about us, we’re Merit B2B. We, data are at the core of everything that we do.

Every client engagement, every model, every transaction, everything is driven by data. Since 2000, we’ve used a data-first approach to solutions built for today’s multichannel, B2B, and technology marketers worldwide. I’m really happy to say that our clients rely on us and our core solution areas for new customer acquisition, ABM and demand gen data management and customer data platforms, the whole gamut.

It’s our comprehensive data, proprietary technology, and deep expertise that’s differentiating and uniquely qualifies Merit B2B to be your growth-driving partner. And perhaps you’ve heard on November 30th, Merit B2B announced the acquisition of True Influence. It’s been an exciting time here at Merit B2B, this combination automatically creates a powerful and unique B2B enterprise marketing technology solution. It’s bringing together the data analytics and performance marketing capabilities of Merit B2B with the intent, AI-driven ABM, and demand gen capabilities of True Influence. Together, we’re creating an industry-leading provider of full-funnel B2B data, ABM and Demand Gen solutions.

Together we’re even more data-driven, tech-enabled, and growth-obsessed. Together we power B2B. That’s enough about us. I’d like to introduce all of you to Anthony, better known as AC by his comrades here at Merit B2B. And he’s going to cover those seven tips. Anthony, welcome.

Anthony Carraturo: What’s up everybody? Welcome to the webinar for today.

As you said, I’m Anthony Carraturo the SVP of Performance Marketing here at Merit B2B and I’m looking forward to helping you guys tune up your ABM going forward and into 2022. Yeah, I can’t believe that it’s already almost new year’s.

Dee Blohm: Got about 16 days left, and then we’ve got to call it.

Anthony Carraturo: It’s unheard of.

So hopefully you guys are already. And that’s our first question, right? Are you ready for 2022? And my guess off the bat is going to be yes, but of course, you’re also here to assure your, you’re hitting every angle and dotting every I and crossing every T because that’s just what good marketers do, right?

The good news heading into the new year and for most the start of a new fiscal is that Q1 is typically when your budget resets. That’s when you can buy more stock and everything that has already worked for you in the past, as well as carve out some monies to test cool new options. So, if you’re employing an ABM strategy, now is certainly the time to assure it’s in top shape and running smooth as silk.

So, with. Let’s jump right into tuning up your ABM strategy and your ABM lists for that matter.

04:13 – Top Challenges For Account Based Marketers Heading Into A New Year

Anthony Carraturo: What we see, or at least what our friends at the Demand Gen Report see as, top challenges for ABM marketers are, number one, a lack of resources two, poor alignment between marketing and sales, three developing personas, and four, predicting who is likely to buy.

right. The top challenge is going to be the lack of resources. Although the only solution for a lack of resources is typically a large budget, marketers don’t need more money before they can make major improvements to their ABM performance engine. Marketers simply need to fine-tune their approach, improving insights, communication, and accuracy, and it doesn’t hurt to have a partner like Merit B2B under the hood with you as well.

I’m just saying. And that brings us to our first tip.

Dee Blohm: I’ll call out right now that we have a typo on the screen. Account-based, we should have a D in there and Dee will take responsibility for that. Moving right along.

05:17 – Tip #1: Learn From Your Best Customers

Anthony Carraturo: Played. The tip number one is learn from your best customers, right when putting together an ABM strategy industry as our first option here is always going to play the largest role, right? If 80% of your revenue comes from two specific industries, guess what? That’s your sweet spot.

But it’s also cooled to see if that sweet spot is hiding in other industries. And what I mean by that is simply by using larger industry codes to find them, for instance SIC code 87, let’s say, is Standardized Engineering, Accounting, Research and Management Related Services. So, Engineering as an industry keyword also appears in SIC code 38, 50, 73, 86, and 95 when you roll it out to eight digits.

Our next two are company size and job title, which really go hand in hand here when you’re applying them to an ABM file. Just make sure they make sense when you apply it to your ABM file, right? If you’re targeting companies that are smaller, you’re probably going to want to target the CEO as well as your specialty job titles like IT Director or Accountant.

But if you’re targeting company sizes of let’s, say a thousand plus, then you’re probably not going to want to reach out to the CEO who could care less on the front end. And you’re going to want to concentrate more on the specialty titles. Again, the company size and the job title won’t really help you create that ABM file as much as an industry, but it’ll sure help you reach the right prospects that you’re looking to that are looking to buy from those particular companies that you’re reaching out to.

And then finally relationship, and this is when sales can really help, right? They have clients that they’ve worked with forever. And not only the spending, but the relationship has grown year over year. Why? You may ask, what’s the secret sauce? And they get that on a hamburger. But seriously does this company and all of their competitors hold major real estate on your current ABM list?

If it does, that’s great. You’re doing something right. But say for instance, that company has a holding company. Are they on your ABM list and all of the brands as well that they hold?

07:53 – Tip #2: Be Open To New Markets

Anthony Carraturo: And that brings us to tip number two, be open to new markets. I’m just going to take a quick sip of water here. For new markets, as you can see from the graphic, the first club out of the bag usually targets the same audience but goes global.

If you are using an ABM file and just reaching out to folks in the US, the best way to reach out to more companies or to a larger audience is to increase your geo spec. That’s a no-brainer, right? If you can do it, but what I’m saying here is instead penetrate your secondary markets, right?

Companies grow, employees get promoted, and industry lines blur. So perhaps you target a Manager that may be a Director by the time their company is ready to purchase your product or service. A company at employee size 200 can be 500 with a few good years for a couple of acquisitions, right? Just ask Merit B2B.

Building a brand is key in marketing, right? So, by targeting outside of your sweet spot, perhaps you’ll find the cheerleader you need to help drive your message home. Sometimes being at the right place at the right time is simply just an educated guess. Which brings us to tip number three. Did you want to say something Dee?

Dee Blohm: I will.

Anthony Carraturo: Oh, okay. I thought you were gearing up. I was. I got excited for a second.

Dee Blohm: I guess just on, when we’re looking at those secondary and tertiary markets, it’s even just beyond the geo and a global outreach, but also like when you were describing the SICs, the expansion within those industries, Engineering Services has, a lot of children under it that can be expanded upon and just recognizing what those relationships are more than personal, but those business relationships and the parent-child relationship of agencies and holding companies.

Anthony Carraturo: Totally agree.

10:08 – Tip #3: Time Your Outreach & Optimize On Cyclical Buying

Anthony Carraturo: So, as you guys can see here, tip three, timing our outreach and optimizing on cyclical buy, right? So, I’m sure most of you are familiar with these industries: The Government, Schools and Agriculture these guys all buy heavily at specific times throughout the year. So let your ABM strategy for specific times of the year match your prospects buying history.

That’s our tip for sure. So, for instance, if your ABM list is chock-full of schools, but it’s currently July and schools are closed, perhaps that money can be spent better elsewhere. So long story short, be sure to do your homework.

10:51 – Tip #4: Let Intent Be Your Guide

Anthony Carraturo: And that will take us to step four, let intent be your guide. So, using online intent signals both internally here at Merit Direct through 180 by Two, and with partners like Bombora, you’re given the opportunity to generate a new ABM list pretty much every day, but we recommend every 10 days.

This makes your ABM list 100% fluid and allows you to talk to prospects and customers who are currently consuming information related to your product and services. These potential best new customers are already, at least in the research phase of their buying journey, and that always makes the story you want to tell them that much more intriguing. When you create an ABM list using specific keywords, you can also utilize an asset and or creative that best explains how your product solves for. That being said, this is very important, you should only use this method as an add-on to your current ABM strategy and not in combination because that totally limits your audience and scope. However, the good news is when the stars align and a company falls into both of these ABM list view, those are the companies you really want to pay close attention to and potentially alert sales.

And speaking of sales, we can roll tip number five.

Dee Blohm: So, before we get to tip number five, you were calling out intent capabilities and what Merit B2B has generated and continued to develop since the acquisition of 180 by Two, but also our acquisition of True Influence, who’s developed their own proprietary methods for gathering data.

That was industry-changing. We really are beginning to lead in that category for B2B intent, so partners beware.

Anthony Carraturo: Dun, duh. All you snuck on this call.

12:52 – Tip #5: Do Some Competitive Research

Anthony Carraturo: So back to the slides. Thanks for that Dee. Research the competition, right? So, we were talking about sales and how in sales and how you may ask should you research the competition?

Well, I suggest asking that same sales team, because guess what? Some of them probably work for competitors at one point or in time or another. As a matter of fact, you can ask yourself or your fellow marketers because they too have probably been at arrival once before. But here’s the key when you know who your competition is selling to or having great success with, but you also know that your offering blows theirs out of the water, time is of the essence. So, we suggest quickly moving in on their turf and showing them whose boss.

13:43 – Tip #6: Rethink Your Sales Categories and Territories

Anthony Carraturo: Bringing us to tip number six, rethink your sales category and your sales territories. Right?

Sometimes. Yeah.

Dee Blohm: I was just going to say, sometimes the sales categories, it’s not just the territories, but just looking at your accounts that have morphed into different businesses, especially since the pandemic, that, that. Businesses that used to be in a just lightly focused in one area, have now heavily focused in that area since the pandemic.

And it’s just it’s always worth checking in on what those clients are selling today.

Anthony Carraturo: I agree. When you’re not using an ABM strategy or an ABM list sometimes you are weak in a certain geo and for those times, absolutely target people just in Nevada or California because that sales rep is the squeaky wheel, right?

But if you limit your ABM list by geo, especially now with so many people working from home you may be missing out on talking to a key decision maker. By all means, it changes whether you’re using ABM or not using ABM, whether you’re going to use GOs or not. By adding all geos to an ABM list, you’re giving yourself and your sales team the best shot at hitting the target.

15:15 – Tip #7: Feed Your Sales & Account Team

Anthony Carraturo: Which will bring us to tip seven, feed your sales team or account team.

And no one, especially not me, likes to be on a diet. Everyone here will tell you. So, here’s the thing. Be logical when creating your ABM list, right? The first thing is, know how many sales reps, BDRs, SDRs, whatever you want to call them you’re dealing with, and we’ll have access to the leads or data that you’re generating.

Also know on average how many leads each rep can digest on a monthly basis. That’s key. Then let’s figure out the job titles that we want to reach as well as the lead per company max. And then once we have all of those numbers, we can be sure our ABM file is not too small. So real quick guys, and this is very important.

If you put your ABM list together the right way, it’s never going to be too big. And you can take that from the sales guy, that’s for sure. Anyways, that was it off. No back to the math, if we can just go right back. I want to make sure, I want to make sure we actually go over the numbers that every, everybody sees the math, right? So, if your sales team is a hundred deep, and I know that’s a big number, let’s just take the numbers for now, and they make 10 calls per day, then their calls per month for all sales using 20 days, as your key would be 20,000 calls. And if your max leads for companies set to 5, that would mean at minimum you’d want an ABM list of 4,000 companies.

Because 4,000 companies times 5 prospects per company gives you 20,000 leads. It’s actually probably a much larger number to reach 20,000 leads. It’s very hard to max at 5 leads per company and fill each bucket all the way. So, did I lose anyone on the math? I hope not, but. So, in case I did there is a really easy way too, to figure this out. Just call Merit B2B and we can review and use your real numbers and figure it out for you. Okay. All that being said, if ABM is being used to also fill the marketing animation funnel, then everything would depend on the prospect audience you contracted to keep in said marketing automation tool and how often you’re refreshing that data as well.

Typically nurturing always calls for larger numbers in order to be sure all bases are covered. And now for the bonus round.

But wait, there’s more. So, this is just a quick, question. Everything, right?

Dee Blohm: Oh, I gave this one away.

Anthony Carraturo: No, this is fine. That’s fine. That’s fine.

18:16 – Review & Rethink Your Accounts

Anthony Carraturo: What did you learn this year? What was missing from your efforts last year? Was an industry that you were targeting totally MIA from purchasing? Did small businesses not react well to your creative? Did Covid play a role? Are these companies still working remote? Was there a change in their business model or product line?

Do supply chain issues affect what you’re able to sell these guys or what you actually have in stock that you’re selling? If they didn’t bite your lore in 2021, will they in 2022? If you don’t add some sense to it or change your lore or put a floater on it maybe not. Maybe the messaging just has to change or maybe we decide to move on, make room for another company on our ABM file.

These are all pretty important questions. Definitely not to be taken lightly, and if you find out all the answers it’ll surely help make the 2022 road a lot smoother for you. And yes, I know finding out said answers will be like driving on a road in the city with a thousand potholes in it, but I promise you it will be totally worth it.

19:36 – Use Content Syndication To Warm Up Your ABM Files

Anthony Carraturo: And finally, the most important tip of the day, use content syndication programs from Merit B2B to warm up your ABM files, right? How can we leave this out? Especially now with the True Influence team starting to integrate and bring all of their skillset to the table? Better yet, activate your entire ABM file through our omnichannel approach of, email, lead gen, digital display, audio, video, connected TV, search, and social to your exact target audience, giving you the opportunity to reach the prospects you want at the companies you want across all market channels, because that’s because what’s good, but what good is an ABM tune up if you don’t put the pedal to the metal?

That’s our commercial for the day.

Dee Blohm: So, you want to call out what that that questionnaire is, I know it’s hard to see, but just what that looks like there.

Anthony Carraturo: Yeah, absolutely. So, if anybody’s using content syndication, you guys know that there are many different ways you can use it, right?

It can be a single touch and through Merit. What we like to do is our one-click lead generation model where you hit the download now button and you’re sent directly to an asset, right? But we also make use of a landing page in between sometimes so that you can ask custom questions you can get them to check an opt-in box and opt-in to receive third-party messaging from you. Or we can do tele-verification on the backend and do all of that as well. We could also throw in an additional asset. So, you can have single touch, you can have double touch. You can have one question, you can have four questions. You can have a full survey.

There are many different options in the content syndication world, especially when, you know, you’re hitting the right person. And definitely somebody you want to target that company. Having more information and providing the sales team more information is going to be really important when you’re doing a lead gen program.

This way, when they make that first phone call, it’s not 100% cold.

So, at this point I welcome any and all questions and hope that everyone has an amazing holiday. I wish you guys all the best in 2022.

22:07 – Your Customer Is The Foundation Of What Your Next Customer Is Going To Look Like

Dee Blohm: we do have a couple of questions, Anthony, before you go. Just to recap here it’s important to look within your customers are saying more than, they’re the foundation of what your next customer is going to look like.

You’ve got to consider the wider marketplace, be mindful of timing. Intent. We are just the key qualifier in prioritizing your leads. You need to do your homework around competitors and keep your account team flush in leads and data. You’ve always got to be thinking about and tweaking that account list.

To ensure that you’ve got the right audience there that you are that you’re familiar with. What’s what they’re working on these days. Has the pandemic changed anything that they’re doing? And then content syndication is key to the warming up process and being able to point relevant content at them and then pass those relevant qualified leads onto sales.

So, this is Anthony’s email address, but I do have a couple of questions here AC and they’re this this the good webinar platform. They like to make the font in, like the tiniest that you can see, is that your real hair color or do you have it professionally done? This is a live show. People.

Anthony Carraturo: Yeah. That’s all me. That’s all me. Some people think I, I dye that way, but yeah. No, I’m just old. It is what it is.

23:52 – What Is Required In An ABM File To Activate Across Programs?

Dee Blohm: A real one. What do you require from clients who have their own ABM file in order to activate across programs?

Anthony Carraturo: Good question. Obviously, company name is pretty important. Domains can be utilized as well. A Dunn’s number would be swell. Obviously, a combination of all three of those is best. Here’s another tip. If you use your own selectivity to create your ABM file or a service data for you, give that raw selectivity to us, and see if we could bring more people to the table. Sometimes our data set is a little bit larger than everybody else’s, and even if it’s just a couple of additional companies that fall into your ABM file other than what you already have, that’s going to be pretty important. And do that with other partners too.

As long as they have a solid B2B database they all should be able to help. Never get it from just. Just one spot and be satisfied with it.

Dee Blohm: A similar question, Anthony, so I’ll ask it. Along with this, just in case a similar answer applies. Can I use multiple ABM files at the same time and for different products at Merit?

Anthony Carraturo: Yeah, absolutely. The more, the merrier.

Dee Blohm: So multiple targeted account files.

Anthony Carraturo: Yeah, I mean if you have if the only reason, the only time you wouldn’t do that is if you absolutely have to target by region, not country then you’ll probably limit yourself. Okay. I said that backwards.

If you have to target by if they want you to target by country, want you to target by country, I suggest targeting by region, right? Cause it’s going to give you a little bit wider birth and like say for instance, the rep in France wants, a certain amount of leads, but the person lives on the border of, France and Italy or Germany or whatever the case may be you’re going to miss out on that person, even though they fall into their territory and they do work at that company and they do have the right job title.

Dee Blohm: Okay. And then we did have a question about international strategy. Should that be done differently? But I think you covered it there. Is there anything to add?

Anthony Carraturo: Well, I, definitely use a company like ours to navigate GDPR.

Dee Blohm: GDPR. Sure,

Anthony Carraturo: Yeah. Yeah. But besides that, yeah, I think I covered it with the last one.

Dee Blohm: Okay. That was all for our questions. Anthony, thank you for joining us today. For everybody that did join us, I want to let you know that we will follow up with you tomorrow with these great assets to help you plan for 2022.

Anthony has an article featured on Marketing Pros that covers a lot of this. We’ve also got Eric Newell’s guide to upgrade your target account approach, which was last month’s webinar. But we do have a great white paper download. We also have a report from Forrester on account-based everything talking about intent.

You’ll see links to download those in the email that we, forward to you tomorrow. And in addition, lastly, I would like to invite all of you to check out the Accelerating Revenue Series from True Influence Powered by Merit, B2B. We’ll share info on these events as well. But these are all live interviews, with the personas that you are reaching out to, that we’re reaching out to, and great thinkers in B2B marketing. Thanks again everybody for joining us. I wish all of you a very happy holiday and we look forward to seeing you in 2022. Cheers, and thanks from Merit, B2B.

Anthony Carraturo: Thanks everybody.