Alex Pappas on Venafi’s ABM Program Overhaul

In a recent article by the Association of National Advertisers, Alisha Lyndon (author of “The ABM Effect” and CEO of Momentum ITSMA) mentioned that ABM needs some hard-loving. While companies are building pipelines with ABM or account-based targeting (what most ABM programs are), they are not seeing the pipeline convert to revenue.

Click here to read the ANA article that also quoted Kristina.

As ABM programs overall get a C- at best by CMO Council, it’s time we do an overhaul of our ABM programs. Listen to the podcast below as Alex Pappas shares how he overhauled the ABM programs of Riskalyze and Venafi (a company that is being acquired by CyberArk) – then scroll down to read the key learnings.

Key Learnings From This Podcast with Alex:

1) ABM is a GTM plan. But in most cases, ABM is approached as a singular tactic or campaign – and it’s tied just to pipeline. In this case, you tend to not get the foundational work that you need up front to go to market in an effective way where you impact stage progression, deal sizes, enterprise win rates and ARR/GRR/NRR. They tend to force fit or retrofit ABM on top of a more traditional marketing plan. Because they are not talking to the right people in the right way, accounts go dark. Uniphore in the conversational AI space is a perfect example of this.

Click here to read the case study.

Click here to see the ABM readiness that ensures revenue wins.

2) Hyper-targeting is not enough. You need hyper-relevance. You need to meet the market where they are. This was not happening at Riskalyze. They made a big investment in Demandbase, and they took a targeted account-based approach focusing on large accounts that have a lot of money, and Riskalyze wanted more of it. They didn’t align the solution (regulation BI) to the right accounts. They had a list of 250+ accounts and at least 100 of them should have been disqualified as they were targeting them with completely irrelevant messaging. The solution didn’t align to them and it didn’t solve any of their pressing needs and challenges. They were doing the brand a dis-service as it showed target accounts that Riskalyze didn’t understand them. And, they wasted resources and money on accounts that they shouldn’t have been targeting in the first place. They also had a huge opportunity cost because they were spending time chasing accounts they shouldn’t have – when they could have been talking to more of the right accounts.


3) Teams need to overhaul their total addressable market (TAM) – This is one of the first things that Alex did at Venafi. They had very broad criteria for their TAM, leading to tens of thousands of accounts, but in most cases, it should be smaller and more focused. Because their TAM was so large, they weren’t getting their message in front of the audiences that needed to see their messages the most. They weren’t getting the account lift and they were missing their metrics across the board. They were spending money ineffectively. By reducing their TAM and increasing their relevance, now Venafi is not only hitting their marks but they are exceeding them when it comes to the pipeline and in revenue growth. At Personal ABM, we talk about going beyond the TAM and even beyond the ICP and focus on the Winnable Accessible Market.


4) Venafi is also overhauling their intent program. They already had intent segmented from broad (learning intent) to specific buying intent that focuses on a specific problem. They are now clustering that buying intent around use cases to begin to understand why there is intent. This way GTM teams not only see that accounts are in market, but what they’re in market for and get to the use case quickly. The next step after that is to uncover the why behind the intent so teams do not respond to the “what” like everyone else. This is where you overlay account intelligence on top of intent and engagement data.

Click here to see the account intelligence that should guide your narrative.

5) Venafi is overhauling their ABM program to go from account-based targeting to an account-based GTM, so ABM is not just a segmenting, tiering and prioritization strategy. It’s how they’re bringing the sales team upstream and how they are enabling sales to move accounts to revenue. You can bring in 1000 MQAs and get them to the 5-yard line, but if you can’t get it to the end zone – then what is the point? An account-based GTM is what you bring to the market but also how you capitalize on the demand and close it.

Click here to see the account-based enablement that is needed to move accounts to revenue.

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  • 9How you can accelerate existing ABM programs and scale it in a way that drive business outcomes versus just pipeline growth.