How Riverbed Technology Is Going Beyond Demand Gen with ABM

On a previous ABM Done Right Podcast, Corrina Owens from Gong mentioned that ABM needs to be less of a demand gen function. But how can we make ABM less of a demand gen function when CMOs are confusing ABM with competitive strategies like demand gen, and they are unable to differentiate targeted demand gen motions from ABM motions. This is why Kristina Jaramillo (President of Personal ABM) and Eric Gruber (CEO of Personal ABM) invited Cristina Daroca (Senior Director, Global Demand and Americas Marketing at Riverbed Technology) to join them on the ABM Done Right Podcast below to discuss how Riverbed is trying to go beyond demand gen with ABM.

Here Are Some of the Key Points and ABM Differentiators That Are Discussed in This Podcast with Guest Expert Cristina Daroca

  • Demand gen is campaign-based and focused on educating the market and shaping the category vs. ABM where you speak to specific accounts and specific moments. ABM is about understanding large, named accounts, their strategic priorities, their unconsidered gaps, and impacts. You think about how you’re going to nurture the named account from a sales, marketing, product, and customer success perspective and think about the health of the account. You think about each interaction across the buyer’s journey and customer lifecycle. As Jeff Pedowitz mentioned in another ABM Done Right Podcast (listed in the additional resources section below), ABM is about building customer lifetime value.


  • Demand gen is top of the funnel where you are trying to be a thought leader whereas ABM has the greatest impact at the middle and bottom of the funnel and with existing accounts. While Demand gen fixes pipeline issues, ABM should not be about sourcing the pipeline, and marketing-sourced revenue as the relationship should have already begun. It’s about influencing revenue and not the way that marketers traditionally looked at it. We should be looking at things like… Did the deal close faster? Is the sales cycle shorter? Is the deal larger? Did we change buying behaviors so accounts are more profitable? Did we grow margins? Are we able to go upmarket and convert more tier 1 accounts?


  • Demand gen functions are more automation, less humanization, and less personal relevance that does not work with accounts that are stuck in status quo and those that have not prioritized action. Buyers become unresponsive and disengaged with sales and marketing because they do not see themselves in the story that’s being told. ABM focuses on the account experience and the human experience as it focuses on the struggling moments that sit at the heart of every deal. These moments are just waiting to be listened to, understood, catered to, solved, and reframed. But it’s these moments that are ignored as sales and marketing teams are focused on scale, where they are doing more demand gen.


  • While demand gen teams tend to focus on 1: few and 1: many programs but ABM should start 1:1. You need to first change sales and marketing motions, and the account experiences that named prospects have with sales, marketing, and customer success teams. If you do not change motions, then you are doing ABM as usual, just more targeted.



  • Demand gen is pursuit-led, and it prioritizes the company’s agenda over the recipient’s needs while ABM is customer-led. Demand gen is about getting your message into the recipient’s ears while ABM is about solving the recipient’s specific problems while showing their unconsidered gaps and the impact on their strategic vision. This means that value props should be designed for individual account needs and not what’s available in the stable to sell.  Value props should be custom designed to the unique opportunity in each account which means we need to go beyond persona pain points that most demand gen programs focus on.


  • Doing ABM is not a thing – it’s a business strategy that needs to be implemented across the organization. However, as demand gen is focused on the pipeline and on campaigns, demand gen should not be driven by the demand gen team. It should be driven and led by field marketing or product marketing that connects sales, marketing, and product teams.


  • 1:1 ABM works best when there is a relationship in place, and you want to drive consensus across the organization to capture larger deals faster. You also want to use 1:1 ABM for tier 1 accounts that have a strategic priority happening now that you can play a major role in if you can create the buying vision, those tier 1 accounts that previously engaged but went dark, and those that are moving slowly in the buying journey.


  • ABM is not just for customer acquisition. In the podcast, you’ll see that Riverbed Technology is using ABM to expand within their tier 1 bank clients but also looking to capture the regional banks that are within the tier 1 brands’ umbrellas.

Here Are Additional Related ABM Podcasts and Articles:

  • Kristina’s CMO Council POV Article – CMOs Are Confusing Targeted Demand Gen with ABM! In this article, you’ll see how ABM is quickly becoming nothing more than demand gen and why more than 66% of ABM programs underperform as reported by ITSMA.

  • ABM Done Right Podcast with Corrina Owens – “How Gong Takes a Less is More Approach to ABM”- When you listen to this podcast you’ll see why ABM should be less of a targeted demand gen function and more about very few accounts at any given time and giving hyper, personal attention to these accounts, the individual buying committees, and the human buyers.

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