How DigiCert is Taking a Crawl, Walk, Run Approach to ABM – and the Role Field Marketing Plays

In previous ABM Done Right Podcasts, we talked about the state of ABM in cybersecurity and other industries that are in a crowded, undifferentiated space where transactional sales were prevalent, and now they were looking to make a change. In this podcast episode, Michelle Radlowski (Senior Director, Americas and EMEA Regional Marketing and ABM at DigiCert), joins Kristina Jaramillo and Eric Gruber to discuss why most ABM programs under-perform in delivering revenue growth, why many cybersecurity firms report 10% YoY drops in enterprise deals closed and why many struggle to win deals that are more than $100K.

We also talk about the role field marketing plays in DigiCert’s ABM program, the crawl, walk, run approach they are taking and how the team is working to integrate all teams for ABM success. Listen to the episode below:


Here Are the Key Lessons From This ABM Done Right Podcast with Michelle Radlowski:


  • You should not jump into ABM before you build your foundation. Unlike DigiCert, which spent 6 months to a year building its foundation (including changing the marketing structure and creating a revenue marketing function), many cybersecurity GTM teams jumped head-first into ABM. All they are doing is targeting better as they are pushing out the same content and messaging. They haven’t changed GTM motions, the account experience and team interactions with the human buyers in key accounts. They haven’t taken the time to create a differentiated POV. You cannot come to each interaction with a point of view about your prospects’ and customers’ businesses (a key element of ABM) without having a point of view about your business. You need to take a good look inside your organization to see the gaps you’re filling, the unique value you deliver and the impact you have so all teams can have a value-driven conversation vs. a product-led conversation and differentiate from all the other noise in the market. In the additional podcast below, you can see how a cybersecurity firm differentiated itself from competitors (legacy platforms) and the status quo:


  • You should not jump into ABM without looking for the red in the business to see where ABM should be applied. In many cases, ABM is automatically being used to fix the pipeline, when the pipeline is not the key issue. Especially if you are going from a transactional sale to a more strategic account -based sales and marketing effort like DigiCert is doing, you need to make changes to how all teams GTM and changes to the account experiences that are delivered across the buyer’s journey and customer lifecycle. You can’t just simply retrofit ABM and do marketing and sales as usual vs. making the changes that need to happen to drive desired outcomes from ABM.

Click here to see the ABM readiness you should go through before starting ABM.


  • ABM should not be tied to demand gen and should not be campaign based. Most cybersecurity GTM teams are engaging in 1: few and 1: many programs using Demandbase, Terminus, Madison Logic, Rollworks and others. They are simply doing account-based awareness and account-based demand gen. Rather than getting 100% customer alignment which is required for ABM, these teams are only aligning at the industry and persona level but not at the account level and not at the human buyer level. With 1: few and 1: many programs, you cannot align with the buyers in the accounts you want to win, protect and expand and what they are seeking, where their business problems lie, what their business goals are now and, in the future, and how your solution can play a role in their strategic priorities. In the additional podcast below with Deanna Shimota, you’ll see the difference between ABM and demand gen and how the two can work together.



  • ABM is about how we nurture accounts from a marketing, sales, customer success and product perspective. It’s the close alignment with clients that drives stage progression, yet many GTM teams are not thinking about that even though accounts go dark after initial engagement. Many GTM teams do not think about how we can move accounts to revenue faster at a higher ACV, which is what ABM should be about as. ABM needs to be closest to where sales and the customer lie with which is why ABM is more aligned with field marketing than demand gen. Just like ABM, field marketing is the next step after an account is in the pipeline. As Michelle discusses, field marketing is sitting in the field alongside sales, so they are the closest to the customer and prospective customers. Because of that close alignment with sales, field marketing is seeing and understanding the conversations that are happening, getting insights into the business problems that companies are looking to solve (vs. just pain points), and receiving customer feedback that can make a difference between an account win and loss vs. guessing with campaigns. This is why true ABM (1:1) lies with field marketing.


Click here to learn more about how a 1:1 ABM program drives stage progression.


  • While Michelle, Kristina and Eric agree that ABM is more aligned with field marketing, demand gen does have a role in an account-based GTM. Instead of going very broad, demand gen should be creating content, messaging and campaigns that attract more of your tier 1 ICP. Once these accounts reach a certain engagement threshold and intent level and have a visible strategic priority in place that you can see, then sales, marketing and your GTM teams can work together to move accounts to revenue.


Click here to learn how the marketing teams need to align with an account-based GTM.


  • Going from a transactional to an enterprise sale requires a completely different GTM motion, positioning – and how you sell and interact with buyers. Michelle learned this as DigiCert went from selling digital certificates to selling and marketing device trust and software supply chain solutions. She quickly saw that they’d need to take a crawl, walk, run approach to ABM, as DigiCert’s traditional buyers are not the decision-makers when it comes to enterprise-level solutions. She also learned that the executive team and having an ecosystem of resources for the sales team is an integral part of expanding and up-leveling the conversation that GTM teams need to have with enterprise buyers and in building a value-added relationship. When Clari targeted 3 new industries that are years behind the company’s traditional clients when it comes to RevOps, they learned they also had to take a crawl, walk, run approach. Below, you can listen to our additional podcast with Tyler Pleiss and see the importance of a 1:1 program when starting out with ABM.



Here Are Additional Related ABM Resources For You:


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During our call we’ll discuss we’ll discuss…

  • 9Your business goals.
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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.