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. But GTM teams are challenged with defining their ICP. They are challenged with segmenting, selecting, and prioritizing accounts to execute ABM on. And as a result, they build a pipeline that goes nowhere.
In the ABM Done Right Podcast below, Kristina Jaramillo (President of Personal ABM) discusses the challenges that teams have when selecting accounts, and she shares recent research from Corporate Visions.
Key Points From This ABM Done Right Podcast:
- ABM is about investing in your future and existing tier 1 customers. Each of those customer investments carries a different weight in risk and returns, just like your financial investments. The problem is that GTM teams look at company size, revenue size, and technographic data to develop their ICP, but they are failing to dig deeper. What are the characteristics of the accounts that provide the greatest growth now – and can provide the greatest future growth? What made them buy in the first place – what was happening in the organization? What are the characteristics of those accounts that provide good returns but have lots of potential for future revenue growth if they change their buying behaviors? What are the characteristics of those accounts that provide diminishing returns? We need to take a deeper look at our existing accounts and build out our ICP profile and the problem profile for those accounts.
- GTM teams are not segmenting their accounts. They are serving seltzer to champagne clients that they should be paying personal attention to with each interaction vs. scaling and pushing out content and messaging through campaigns. With your tier 1 accounts, your teams should be tailoring their LinkedIn profiles to speak to those accounts. Content should be created for specific conversation with those accounts. Messaging should be personal to what’s happening in those target accounts and you should be going to each interaction with a POV about that target account’s specific business. You should be co-developing use cases and working together as 1 team to build a consensus within those accounts.
- ABM should be a GTM strategy owned cross-functionally rather than something marketing does to create demand for a set of wish list accounts that sales provides. In many cases, sales provides marketing with their wish list where marketing may have 50 accounts that all look different. There is no context nor a real reason behind account selection except that the deal would be very large for sales if, by chance, they were to get the deal.
- When marketing picks accounts, ABM focuses on sourcing the pipeline. ABM should focus on those tier 1 accounts that are unresponsive to campaigns, those that engaged but went dark, those that are moving slowly in the pipeline, those that have greater potential to get a larger deal size if you can get organizational buy-in, those accounts that are at-risk and those you want to expand. So sales, leadership, marketing, and account teams have to come together and focus on the KPIs and business objectives that they want to impact now before they even select accounts. There needs to be a rhyme and reason behind the accounts that you select, and it should be tied to KPIs that the team wants to impact now and the business objectives that you want to impact.
- 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.
- There is a better way than the popular segmentation criteria that many GTM teams use. Leff Bonney, behavioral scientist, and Research Director at B2B DecisionLabs (a Corporate Visions company), led a research study to learn what segmentation criteria are most effective for predicting buying behaviors and, ultimately, opportunity wins and losses. The researchers analyzed 111 past deals and surveyed those past buyers to determine which steps they took to reach a decision and purchase the vendor’s solution. They compared 6 segmentation factors: Personas – the role or personality of the decision maker, company size, past purchase history, industry verticals, problem profile, and trigger events. The two most accurate predictors of buying behaviors were the problem profile and trigger events. When the team analyzed more than 6,000 opportunities at 20 different companies, they found that universally, problem profiles and trigger events 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. Click here to read the study.