Declan Mulkeen mentioned on LinkedIn how ABM + demand gen = a winning team. He’s right; it is a winning team together as demand gen should have a role in an ABM program. The problem is that most ABM programs are nothing more than demand gen. Leadership, sales, and marketing teams do not understand the difference between the two motions – and they don’t understand how the “two” should work together.
Kristina Jaramillo, President of Personal ABM, and Amber Bogie (Director of Global Demand Generation for Reach Desk and board member, host, and member of the Peak Community) discuss how to integrate ABM with demand gen. You’ll gain insights from Amber’s 7+ years of building out all of the different flavors of ABM and executing 1:1, 1:few, and 1:many ABM strategies.
Here Are the ABM Conversations You’ll Listen to in This Podcast with Kristina Jaramillo and Amber Bogie
Conversation 1: The difference between ABM and demand gen.
Amber mentioned that demand gen is up until the funnel (the awareness stage), ABM begins the moment the funnel starts, and the account becomes an MQA where you have the insights you need to make it personal. Cristina Daroca, who Kristina and Eric spoke to on a previous ABM Done Right Podcast, has a very similar belief about ABM and demand gen as she mentioned: “ABM should not be about sourcing the pipeline, and marketing-sourced revenue as the relationship should have already begun. It’s about influencing revenue, not how marketers traditionally viewed 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?”
Some of the other differences that Kristina and Amber discussed include:
- 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 will 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.
- Demand gen functions are more automation, less humanization, and less personal relevance that does not work with accounts stuck in status quo and those that have not prioritized action, while ABM focuses on the account experience and the human experience.
- 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.
- While demand gen focuses on getting accounts into the pipeline, ABM should be about getting customers to revenue and then building the customer lifetime value of that account by changing and evolving relationships. As Amber mentioned, you cannot fill a bucket with water that has holes.
- Targeted demand gen creates a moment of connection or recognition with personalization that typically focuses on personas. ABM focuses on account goals, account-specific gaps, and impacts, and you come to each interaction with a POV about their business to further the relationship.
Conversation 2: The role of ABM and demand gen.
- ABM should optimize demand gen functions. ABM should be used to change sales, marketing, customer success motions, the interactions they have, and the experiences they deliver. In many cases, GTM teams go directly to 1: few and 1: many programs. They’re still pushing and guessing vs. learning from individual interactions. This is why Tyler Pleiss from Clari focuses on 1:1 ABM first when trying to penetrate three new markets. Clari can’t use the same messaging and positioning with these new markets as they are very traditional and stuck in status quo. They are years behind when it comes to revenue operations – sometimes decades. ABM enables you to scale out a more relevant demand gen function so you can spray without praying. We also believe that ABM should be used with the 20% of accounts that can deliver 80% of today’s and tomorrow’s revenue growth. The lessons you learn from the 1:1 interactions should inform the changes that need to be made with your demand gen strategy.
- ABM should not source the pipeline except for tier 1 accounts that do not respond to campaigns that have a strategic priority you can play a unique, strong role in. Demand gen should be filling the pipeline. As demand gen should fill the pipeline, ABM should be used to drive stage progression with accounts that go dark, accelerate sales cycles with slow-moving accounts, reverse no positions, and get a larger deal size.
- ABM should be used to protect and expand key accounts vs. demand gen as these accounts need specific stories, content, and messaging that is personal to them – they need a layer of personal relevance that you cannot get with campaigns. They need to see the gaps that were uniquely filled, the impacts, current gaps, and how they need to continue to evolve.
Conversation 3: Reachdesk’s ABM and demand gen strategy:
Amber started at Reachdesk in May, so it’s early for her ABM/demand gen program. But she talks about how she’s building out her program and her vision for the ABM/demand gen program. She discusses how she will integrate ABM with demand gen and how she’s educating sales and leadership teams on the difference between ABM and demand gen.
Additional ABM + Demand Gen Related Resources:
- ABM Done Right Podcast – How Teams Are Confusing ABM with Demand Gen
- ABM Done Right Podcast – How Riverbed Technology Goes Beyond Demand Gen
- CMO Council Article – CMOs Are Getting Targeted Demand Gen Confused with ABM
- MarketingProfs Article – Why ABM Should Be Supported – Not Driven By- Demand Gen and ABM Tech