We’ve been talking to technology companies using the RollWorks account-based marketing and advertising platform that are questioning if they should remain a customer. This is a common thread across all ABM platforms, including Terminus, Demandbase, 6sense, Madison Logic, and others, as their customer success teams report 50%-60% client churn.
What is happening?
As you can see by the image below, companies are building stronger pipelines with Rollworks, but in many cases, the pipeline growth is not translating to revenue growth.
The Problem is Not the RollWorks Platform – It’s How GTM Teams Are Using the Technology
We recently asked a CMO of a channel sales tech firm about her ABM (account-based marketing) program. She rattled off the technologies they were using, including Rollworks. While they were getting traction with their program and building a pipeline for sales to work from, they were challenged to win multi-year contracts with accounts that would need a deal size of more than $75K per year. Accounts that large would consistently move forward with what they “saw” as a safe bet, which was Salesforce or another large player in the market.
They were obviously not teaching for differentiation with content and messaging that shows the impact that competitor-specific gaps would have on the target accounts. They weren’t changing the sales and marketing conversation. They weren’t changing the interactions that sales and marketing were having with larger accounts that have the potential to provide the strongest revenue growth. They treated every account in the same way. This story is all too familiar, as I’ve had many recent conversations with CMOs where they are making their ABM tech synonymous with their ABM strategy.
The CMO in the story above viewed ABM as a targeted account-based advertising and targeted demand-gen program that’s driven by, enabled by and scaled with ABM tech. During her “Less is More” interview on the ABM Done Right Podcast, Corrina Owens (Former Senior ABM Manager for Gong) mentioned that ABM platforms have diluted the market on what ABM is about. Their big selling point is the targeted advertising approach — and it has become the norm, where many have forgotten the principles of ABM and how it needs to be hyper-personal to the account, the individual buying committees, and to the human buyers themselves. This tech focus makes ABM all about campaigns and touches vs. creating differentiated, relevant moments, interactions, and experiences. It’s become a bunch of tactics (retargeted ads, emails, outreach campaigns, etc.) to get accounts into the pipeline.
Rollworks Is Fit for “a” Purpose in ABM Programs as the Tech Can Help GTM Teams:
- Start to identify their ICP, target account lists, and key buyers that should be in their pipeline.
- Validate targets and uncover new pipeline opportunities based on intent, engagement data, and other buying signals.
- Test messaging to see if their messaging is sticking with different personas across the organization that GTM teams need to engage with throughout the buying journey and customer lifecycle.
- Drive account-based awareness across the buying committee across different channels.
You can click here to see a 5-minute demo of the Rollworks platform and how it can help you. But, there are gaps that do not make it a fit for ABM’s purpose of driving significant revenue growth.
While Rollworks and Other ABM Platforms Can Help You Start to Identify Your ICP – the Tech Does Not Give You a Complete, Predictive Picture.
The technology may help you define your ICP through demographics (size of company, industry, size of departments that you focus on, revenue numbers, increase/decrease in sales, and hiring trends) and technographics. But that’s not enough to give you a clear picture of the companies you should be targeting that are the most predictive of moving forward and is giving you the greatest revenue growth.
When you hit the core the right way, that’s when win rates go up, stage progression accelerates, sales cycles go faster, and deal sizes increase. When you build relationships and align with your core, you build retention, you drive customer lifetime value, and expand with your core as you provide greater value to them. ABM is about building customer lifetime value with the 20% of accounts that can deliver 80% of your revenue growth. However, GTM teams are challenged with defining their ICP.
For example, before investing in our ABM readiness program, DAT was defining its ICP by industry and freight spend. They weren’t segmenting their existing customers to uncover their “best fit” and identify characteristics of those high-value accounts that were using their platform on a regular basis (making it a must-have) vs monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis (making it a nice to have.) They weren’t looking into how and why the DAT platform was being integrated into the daily programs of the most frequent users and how they were utilizing the platform differently than the others.
Those in level 1 and level 2 maturity, as shown above, are most likely to use the DAT platform in a siloed way where only the transportation manager will benefit and only benefit a few times throughout the year. Those in level 3 maturity are most likely to use the platform to help with strategic pricing, supply chain network optimization, inventory management, supply procurement, merchandising and product allocation, operations and more vs. just increasing accountability that your transportation spend is on trend.
DAT didn’t keep in mind the strategic priorities of the supply chain organizations that would give them the greatest revenue growth – nor did they have a business problem profile. They had pain points that only made them nice to have.
There needs to be a strategic reason behind you targeting accounts. We need to go beyond typical segmentation factors, including buyer personas, industry verticals, company size, and past purchase history, as studies show that this segmentation is not actionable. Segmentation is only successful if it’s actionable—it needs to help your sellers predict and influence your buyer’s decision-making process. If you can predict your buyer’s journey, you can take steps to influence that process to make it faster and easier to close the deal.
According to studies by Corporate Visions, the two most accurate predictors of buying behaviors were the problem profile and trigger events/strategic priorities. When the team analyzed more than 6,000 opportunities at 20 different companies, they found that universally, problem profiles and trigger events/strategic priorities are the strongest predictors of the buyer’s journey. The most common segmentation methods—buyer personas, industry verticals, and past purchase history, aren’t the best predictors of buying behaviors.
RollWorks Can Scale Bad Processes as Much as It Can Scale Good Processes…
Because DAT did not have the complete, predictive picture of who their ICP was, they didn’t have the right content, messaging, and digital communications to bring the right accounts into the pipeline that would see them as a must-have. They were pushing out the same content through digital channels, just in a more targeted way, so it was only building the pipeline but not having a significant impact on revenue.
I spoke to marketing at an HR and leasing tech company that is spending $15,000 – $30,000 per month targeting large enterprise retailers with account-based ads. They were looking to us to see what we’d do to improve their account-based advertising campaigns, as they were getting zero returns. They were pushing out ads with messaging hoping that it would stick. They were speaking to hundreds of retailers (300+) and 50,000 potential decision makers/influencers in those accounts and lacked the industry, company, persona, and personal relevance as they were pushing out generic pain points vs. speaking to gaps that IBM and other legacy platforms have as most of the companies they were targeting already had a solution in place.
Instead of pushing out messaging through ads, they needed to take a 1:1 ABM approach that’s driven by account intelligence, where they focus on the team’s interactions and the experiences they are delivering. They need to see what’s working and what’s not and why with specific retailers they want to win before they can build their account-based demand gen program with platforms like Rollworks.
They needed to build their ABM readiness and focus on their point of view so they can come to each social. email, digital, and live interaction with a POV about the prospect’s business. They needed to be able to teach for differentiation and tailor for resonance.
The HR Tech Firm Above is Only 1 Example of Many Others….
Another company I spoke to generated 10K MQLs, which led to only 0.2% closed revenue. Another company I spoke to reached 1,218 accounts with ABM and Rollworks. They got 2 sales-qualified opportunities and 0 closed revenue.
These are two real examples of B2B programs run at 50M+ ARR SaaS companies. Two of many more. After auditing and working with 100+ B2B companies with high ACV, we realized this: Most companies need to go through a fundamental transformation of the way they market to, expand and retain their customers. Rollworks and other ABM technology platforms alone will not provide the transformation that teams need.
ABM should be about how sales, marketing, enablement, customer success, and product teams together will hit the numbers the business needs to get to the next level. It’s a strategy on how the teams will fix business challenges that are tied to the fundamentals of revenue: win rates, deal sizes, sales velocity, stage progression, sales cycle time, retention, ARR, margin growth, and expansion. ABM tech is only a piece of the puzzle.
CMOs and teams need to also think about…
- How they want sales and marketing to work together.
- How they want to go to market in a relevant, account-specific way.
- The account-based enablement that will be needed to drive stage progression.
- How they need to change sales and marketing motions, the social/email/live interactions they are having with key accounts, and the experiences they are delivering.
- How they want to leverage content, messaging, social, and demand gen to change the narrative, challenge the status quo, create a buying consensus, and drive wins and account expansions with the 20% of accounts that can deliver 80% of today’s and tomorrow’s revenue growth.
- How they should be tailoring ABM to their business, their team, and their future and existing customers vs. replicating someone else’s ABM program.