Being Part of Your ICP and Showing Intent Is Not Enough

Many of the GTM teams we talk to at Personal ABM are already using ABM platforms like Demandbase and Terminus, predictive analytics platforms like 6sense, and intent data tech like Bombora. They are driving the top-of-the-funnel and increasing pipeline KPIs.

But, the common thread we’re seeing across the different companies in different industries is that they are challenged to drive stage progression even though the accounts they are now targeting are in-market and are in their ICP. There is a huge discrepancy between the pipeline revenue and actual revenue. And, in many cases, when deals are signed, the deal sizes are less than desired.

What’s going on? In the podcast below, Kristina Jaramillo, President of Personal ABM, shares her insights on how being part of your ICP and showing intent is not enough.


Here are Kristina’s Key Points From This Podcast….

  • The Challenger Sale is focused on teaching for differentiation, tailoring for resonance/relevance, and taking control of the customer conversation, all while providing constructive tension. However, marketing simply reacts to 3rd party and 1st party intent data and pushes out more content based on what the target buyer is consuming or searching for. Marketing is simply reacting to the same information as their competitors that are also investing in intent data platforms vs. looking for “why” there is intent in the first place. There is no differentiation in the sales/marketing conversation, in the approach or the technology. However. when you uncover the why you can provide content and messaging that focuses on their strategic objective and create the buying vision that leans in your direction. Through marketing content and messaging, we should be shaping the conversations that sales need to have with key accounts.


  • Sales teams are also reactive. One of the challenges we hear from product marketing teams is that sales teams do not have the right initial conversations with accounts that showed signs of engagement with ABM campaigns. Accounts and buyers are going cold and becoming unresponsive after sales engagement. Most sales methodologies are forcing sales to be reactive. They require sales teams to perform extensive discovery with the potential client. They require sales to ask probing questions to uncover needs, which are merely departmental/individual wants. As sales teams react to this information, they become pigeon-holed and are forced to cut deal sizes and margins as they are not aligned with the strategic priorities of the business.


  • ABM should be an offensive, proactive move to win, protect and expand key accounts (the 20% of accounts that can deliver 80% of today’s and tomorrow’s revenue growth!) It should not be reactive. Sales and marketing teams need to take control of the conversation at every touch point, which means we need to come to each interaction with tier 1 accounts with a POV about their business vs. just reacting to intent. We need a reason beyond the intent to have meaningful, aligned outreach. In most cases, teams are not looking for that reason, so they’re having the same conversations as everyone else as 70% of tech companies have at least 1 intent data platform that they’re using.


  • Sales and Marketing Teams need to find areas of personal relevance. According to ITSMA and Tech Target, 66% of ABM programs under perform. These programs only involve 1:few and 1:many ABM execution and lack key areas of relevance. It’s sales and marketing as usual, but now they’re using intent data and ABM technologies to take a more targeted “spray and pray” approach. Eighty-six percent (86%) of communications by sales, marketing, and account teams are still off-target and irrelevant.


  • “Persona” messaging has sales and marketing teams reacting to departmental wants. This is what happened with our digital asset management client. They were focused on “marketing pain points” and providing similar messaging to their competitors. The led target accounts to do an RFP and compare side by side the solution capabilities and pricing vs. looking to see which DAM solution would meet the needs of the organization. This led to losses to competitors that would drive the price down. Our client wasn’t aligning with the strategic priorities of the organization and showing target accounts their specific unconsidered gaps across the organization that would impact the achievement of the business vision. They weren’t showing the impact their specific gaps would have on the different divisions, on omnichannel operations, eCommerce, their GTM. product management, sales enablement, finance, customer service, the customer experience, and customers.


  • Sales and marketing teams need to understand how competitors will impact the prospects’ ability to achieve their strategic vision. If accounts are in-market and they are showing intent, then they are looking at your competitors. When the Challenger Sale book was written, only 35% of companies were able to establish themselves as truly preferred over the competition. And, still more troubling, even among preferred companies, when Challenger tested the impact of each of the benefits they believed to be unique, they found that customers perceived half of them to be actually relevant to their needs. And, among those, customers told Challenger that they weren’t delivered consistently enough to actually influence their preference. When you put it all together. only 14% of so-called benefits were perceived by customers as both unique and beneficial. Being “best of breed,” “innovative,” and “customer-focused” were not among them. While the Challenger Sale was first published in 2011, if they were to do a study today, they would get similar results. In fact, Forrester recently completed a study on order management systems. Forrester heard story after story of order management firms embracing what they did (their features) as the “secret sauce” to their competitive advantage. But…From the purview of an order management practitioner, the secret was that firms didn’t know their sauce was just simple syrup – commodity features of an unfamiliar class of software. Then we wonder why we’re challenged to capture larger deals and why we’re faced with margin pressures.


  • Sales and marketing teams make claims on how they are differentiated. But they are not leading prospects and customers to come to their own understanding of how the solution/approach is different. Through your content and stories, you need to show competitor-specific gaps and the impact they would have on the company, on different divisions. on strategic priorities, on different ranks/personas, and on the people you engage with. You need to show through your stories how you would uniquely fill the gaps.

As Kristina Discusses Challenger in This Podcast, You May Want to Listen to the Challenger Podcast below:

Here Are Additional ABM Done Right Podcasts on Intent Data:

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