How Critical Start Rebooted the Stories That Sales and Marketing Tell

Carrie Kelly (CMO) led marketing programs at some insanely innovative places. Cisco, Ericsson, Nortel, CA Technologies, and now Critical Start, a high-growth cybersecurity company that challenges the status quo across the managed detection and response market. Throughout her career, Carrie built global marketing campaigns and demand generation programs that have yielded millions in revenue as she kept growth objectives high.

Despite constantly being surrounded by technology, Carrie never forgets that we’re all just people trying to connect with other people. And the best way to do that is through a story that’s authentic, compelling, and above all, meaningful. In the ABM Done Right Podcast below, Carrie talks to Personal ABM CEO (Eric Gruber) about how she and the team changed the stories that sales and marketing tell in order to make a stronger connection.

Here Are the Key Points from This ABM Done Right Podcast with Guest Expert (Carrie Kelly):


  • Sales and marketing get too caught up on what they are offering and selling and thinking about what it “might” do for the buyer. As a result, sales and marketing create a disconnect by thinking of these buyers as mechanical buyers and not remembering what the trigger points are in someone’s daily thought process and decision-making process. As a result, sales and marketing teams are speaking “at” accounts and “at” people vs. “with” accounts and people.
  • There’s more to the buying decision than “how will this solution help my company” — there’s a personal reason behind every decision that we as sellers and marketers need to connect to.
  • Prospects do not see themselves inside the stories that sales and marketing are telling as the stories often focus on persona pain points vs. account-specific gaps and impacts across the organization. This is happening because sales and marketing teams do not have a fundamental understanding of what’s happening in the target organization and with the human buyers and influencers that are working together within the cohort to determine what is best for the organization going forward. This is why we are losing the “selling conversations” in our buyers’ minds. The podcast below talks about the account intelligence that should guide your stories and your ABM efforts.

  • Sales and marketing need stories for each part of the customer journey, including after the close as we work to retain and expand key accounts and we need to teach for differentiation against the status quo and competitors. We need to go beyond thought leadership and reframe the thoughts and ideas of prospects, create an emotional connection, make a business case and show a new way. Eric and Carrie talk about how buyers should never have to ask: “How are you different.” We need to guide prospects to come to their own understanding of how you are different. Below, you will find 3 related articles:
  1. How your B2B content can better support ABM throughout the complete buyer’s journey (Our article on the Pathfactory blog)
  2. The role Challenger should play in ABM (A recent ABM Done Right Newsletter article on LinkedIn)
  3. Why most content does not support sales conversations or ABM (Our article on the Content Marketing Word blog)

When you listen to the podcast, you’ll learn about the stories and enablement content Critical Start rebooted to challenge the status quo and to drive stage progression with stuck accounts. You’ll also learn about the stories and content they are using to drive adoption, retention, and expansion.

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