Why your ABM Strategy Isn’t Working with Kristina Jaramillo

Why your ABM Strategy Isn’t Working with Kristina Jaramillo


Kristina outlines how to overcome a major pitfall in implementing ABM- not being personalized enough to your individual prospects. 


Kristina Jaramillo, president of Personal ABM, works with supply chain & tech marketers to add a personal account layer that enables them to influence revenue with new business & account expansion. An expert is account-based marketing, she has been featured in Forbes, Marketing Profs, Salesforce.com, Sales and Marketing Management Magazine, CMO Magazine, and many others. 



Billy Bateman 0:01   

All right everyone. Welcome to the show today. I am your host, Billy Bateman, and this is Digital Conversations presented by Chatfunnels. Today I am joined by Kristina Jaramillo, president of Personal ABM. She’s also a well known authority in the space of ABM and has articles published in several places, including Forbes marketing profs, Salesforce.com, Sales and Marketing Management Magazine, CMO magazine and many others. Khristina, thanks for joining me. 

Kristina Jaramillo 0:32   

Thanks for having me, Billy. I’m looking forward to this conversation. It’s my favorite topic, so I’m going to have fun with this. 

Kristina’s Account-Based Marketing Background

Billy Bateman 0:38   

It will be fun, it will be fun. for those that don’t know you and or much about Personal ABM, tell us a little bit about yourself and in Personal ABM. 

Kristina Jaramillo 0:47   

sure, sure. Um, personally, BM has been around for over 10 years, and we’ve kind of evolved with account-based marketing. We take a very niched approach, hence the personal part. Typically, people will say we’re running an ABM or account-based program, we’re running with like maybe 300-500 accounts, we usually only have about two to three dozen accounts. And we’re focused on accounts that are fitting the ICP to a T and have the greatest revenue growth opportunity.  

Win, Protect, Expand Accounts

And we work with tech, SAS firms, people with complex sales, longer sales cycles, six and seven figure deals and even companies in the logistics and 3PL space to either. You know, we focus on a couple of things: win, protect, or expand key accounts. And again, they’re going to be the ones that have the greatest revenue growth, potential, and greatest expansion opportunity as well. 

Billy Bateman 1:36   

Awesome. Awesome. how’d you get into, you know, how’d you guys get into doing this with Personal ABM? 

History of Personal Account-Based Marketing

Kristina Jaramillo 1:42   

Yeah, well, we started just LinkedIn marketing, originally with small businesses and consultants. And we saw that account-based marketing was, you know, coming about, it hadn’t really been given that buzzword or that official title. And we noticed that it was working on LinkedIn. But it needed a special tweak to it and needed an extra layer of relevance, that personal layer, not just relevant to the ranking individual, but to the actual person.  

What Matters to them as a Person

So, what matters most to them as a person as opposed to a buying committee or an organization or even their department. We kind of just adapt over, you know, the 10+ years that we’ve been in business, and we were early proponents, the challenger sale, which is something we continue to be, but we didn’t really know, we were taking that approach until we kind of found the book and realized, oh, this sounds just like us.  

And the book has helped us kind of refine and hone our skills because we could have been told previously that maybe we’re a little aggressive but now we put some finesse into it and kind of tweaked it and see what works and what doesn’t work. And we kind of tested it out on ourselves first and then rolled it out to clients and just took grown with it and then went from there. Cool. Cool. 

Billy Bateman 2:59   

So, we’re going to talk about ABM and LinkedIn is really what we’re going to dig into today. First, you know, everyone’s got their own definition of ABM. And I wanted to know, you know, what is ABM to you? What do you think people are getting wrong? And how does LinkedIn work its way into ABM? 

Definition of Account-Based Marketing

Kristina Jaramillo 3:18   

Yeah, sure, you’re right, I think ABM is kind of one of those words that if you ask like a dozen different people’s sales, marketing, customer success, they’re going to have like a dozen different definitions. But to me, it is a business strategy. It involves sales. It involves leadership, marketing, count management, customer success teams, anyone that’s facing customer facing, like bringing them together, and that we have a strategy to bring those new accounts to revenue.  

Revenue Engine for Business

And again, existing or expanding existing cancer, greater revenue, and to me, it is the revenue engine for the business. It’s basically like the core strategy. But I’ve seen that ABM has kind of become diluted because it’s become account-based awareness, account-based advertising, or account-based agenda.  

And that’s like, I think it’s just the fact that marketing has been so caught up in scaling things and the approach that we take can be scalable, it’s just it doesn’t sound right away. Just I’d have to walk you through that at another point. But just so you know, I think a lot of companies are also using ABM you know, like I said, like those account-based advertising Legion and they’re focusing on filling that pipeline versus the complete buyer’s journey because ABM.

  Mid and Lower Funnel

You know, I’ve sustained statistics on it, that it has the most success at the middle and bottom of the funnel, but a lot of people are really only focusing on the top. And I think a lot of people at this point ABM is pretty for the more sophisticated companies that are using it have, you know, figured out for the top of the funnel and figure it out for people that are showing intent or an engaged and that they have down, but what about that 60% sometimes 70% depending on stats are getting that account set are not in market or they’re stuck in status quo, or they’re waiting for the sales and marketing team to deliver like that relevant business value to them.  

What about those accounts that have shown intent but then stopped engaging? I think there’s a lot of different things that we have to be asking ourselves, how can we use ABM in different conversations, you know, like, how can we protect at-risk accounts? How can we expand? You know, what we’ve noticed? 

Personal Relevant Connection 

And what we found is that a personal relevant connection is needed. And it basically starts with profiles but goes into the social content or any content you’re pushing out or sending out any messaging. That has to be super targeted, specific to the decision maker and influencer. And you know, it has to frame the selling conversation that you want to have with them. Where do you want this to go? Not just the features and benefits that everyone talks about.  

Using LinkedIn for Account-Based Marketing

So, I think LinkedIn is a perfect platform for that because it provides revenue teams the opportunity to make direct relevant connections with those people that they want to build relationships with. And that’s how you can get to that human buyer. And especially if you’re trying to access people that aren’t responding to your cancer pains, or we’re responding to you, but then kind of went silent.

I think the biggest problem is that most social communication is kind of similar to email and live conversations. And they’re just kind of pushing out what they think might be relevant, and they’re missing what’s relevant to the individual they’re talking to, because it’s different from person to person or organization. And personalization is different from having personal relevance. I think they’re two different I know, they sound the same, but they’re two different things. 

Personalization vs. Personal Relevance

Billy Bateman 6:38   

Yeah. Let’s break that down. What’s the difference between just like personalization, and then personal relevance? 

Kristina Jaramillo 6:45   

Okay, to me, personalization is something that maybe sales and marketing might have. like, you add in a little bit of information, you know, about their role. like you’ve seen in, you know, people in their role or having this kind of problem. or, you know, you saw some information and what’s happening in their industry. or even in their company, like, they just got a, you know, huge round of funding. or they just saw a huge revenue increase, whatever it is. when you get personal, you actually look at what’s important to the actual person you’re talking to the human that you’re talking to. 

What are People Talking About?

And one of the great things about LinkedIn is that people can give you a lot of information. If you go look at their profile, you can see what’s important to them. what are they talking about, like, what are they sharing? If they’re sharing, what are they participating in? What are they commenting on?  

What are they even saying in their profile, so you can see what their personal job description is, or what their KPIs are, and then you can speak to that? as opposed to saying, you know, all HR leaders have this problem, or all marketers have this problem. It’s not necessarily what you’re thinking. 

LinkedIn Messages

Billy Bateman  7:48   

Yeah, yeah, no, I get I mean, almost everyone, I think, at this point gets those LinkedIn messages. It’s like, hey, I see, you’re the VP of operations. I’m sure you’re struggling with this problem. And I’m like, actually, I’ve never thought that that was a problem, you know. but like, half of all I’m like, like, really? Like, okay, like, yeah, I could see it for somebody else.  

But that’s not a problem for me. You know? It’s interesting that that’s, you know, what? personalization is to a lot of people when I’m like, no, let’s, let’s copy and paste now. I regret accepting this invitation to connect and removing that connection right now. Immediately. Yes, yes. Yes. I hear that all the time.  

How to Start with LinkedIn

So let me ask you this on LinkedIn is like, from talking before the podcast, that’s where you think there’s the greatest opportunity to do this. if I’m, you know, a marketer, or even a sales team, you know, it’s trying to really be account-focused. and how we’re getting into accounts and closing them and growing them.  

Where do I start with LinkedIn? What should I be thinking about? After I’ve got my ICP? Like, I know who I sell to? What should I start thinking about next? 

Who is Your Decision Maker?

Kristina Jaramillo 9:03   

Well, who exactly within the account Do you sell to? And it doesn’t mean just like who’s your champion? It means who’s going to be the decision maker, so it might not be someone even in their department?  

I know, people were, you know. I’ve heard this cover this term a lot, especially the middle of actually the beginning of pandemic. like a lot of people were having deals either, you know, stop or be frozen, because they were being brought to the CFO, which was the CFO? No, because they were signing off on everything. Oh, for sure. may not necessarily were, you know, always in the decision before but now, of course they are because everybody’s watching their pennies.  

Talk to the Final Decision Maker

So, you have to know that just because you’re talking to what’s important to let’s say the actual champion that you normally talk to, isn’t the same thing is not going to be the case for the person that’s making that final decision. What’s writing off to them if their KPI is actual return on investment. then you need to speak to that if their KPI is increased. deficiency or whatever it is, you need to get relevant to that person as well. 

And they’re all on the same committee. they all have you think they would all have the same, you know, goals. and they do to a certain extent. but for their individual success in their individual role success, it’s going to be different. That’s what I think people need to take into consideration.

Customer Success

And I think that also goes with Customer Success teams. I’ve seen a lot of them having the same conversation as the sales team. And if you’re talking to a customer, they already know why they chose you. they already know why they either like or don’t like working with you. They don’t need to hear that same sales conversation with someone that doesn’t know you or is not as familiar with you. they need to know why they should continue working with you what you’ve done with them.  

And not just that we did ABC, we need to know that they don’t care really so much about activities. they care about how those you know. how you feel their gaps, how those gaps that you did feel, how they impacted parts of the organization, and not just maybe that one department. If you can say that you had an impact on operations or an impact on finance, as well as that department, then it’s a different conversation and a different story. And it’s much easier to get an internal buying consensus. 

Response Rate Decreases

Billy Bateman 11:13   

Okay. Okay. I love it. I love it. Another thing we talked about was, you know, you mentioned there’s a huge decrease in the response rate to email and LinkedIn messages. How can our sales teams adapt to that? Because you know, that’s traditionally how people for the last little while and getting a hold of is send you an email. send you a message on LinkedIn, and let’s get a conversation started. 

Kristina Jaramillo 11:37   

Yeah, I think the, you know, I think I saw a stat that it was like a drop of in responsiveness like 44%. And then I think it was from LinkedIn that did this study. They said it was because of COVID. And I really don’t think that that’s the only reason. I think it’s because a lot of sales and marketers kind of forget that it’s all about connecting with people.  

Building Relationships Digitally

So obviously, face to face meetings weren’t a thing. Luckily, they’re coming back. But we were forced to build, you know, relationships on digital platforms. some of us were used to that. Some of us had already honed in on that. And you know, we’re doing really well. it wasn’t that big of a deal.  

But a lot of people were just kind of pushed into it, you know, with no training with no etiquette. and with no, like, how do I do this? And I think they thought because it was a different platform, it had a different way of navigating. And it’s really not because traditional sales and marketing is all about leading with value and showing value.  

Recovering from COVID

And that’s the same thing when it comes to digital, and especially LinkedIn. you know, we were trying to recover from, you know, a lot of people companies had stalled quarters, stalled pipelines or, you know, deals that kind of just fell through the cracks.  

But a lot of buyers don’t want to go back to the way that it was or pre-COVID. buyer seller relationships. According to McKinsey, that’s something that they found. And I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t either. You know, but they did find that a lot of buyers want more digital relationships with, you know, business leaders. whether that’s sales or marketing, or C suite or whatever. They want digital relationships.

Relationships with People they can Trust

But the caveat to that is that they want relationships with people that they can trust. with people that are going to provide them value. the opposite of what we were just talking about, you know, I accept a connection. And then you’re all automatically inundating me with generic messaging. or here’s my calendar link, or yeah, let’s get on a call. Let’s do a demo.  

And I’m like, wait a second. just because I connected with you doesn’t mean any of those are relevant to me, you know. But I think a lot of sales and marketing people are kind of just pushing out old messaging. and not shifting to where buyers are now. Whether that’s what their needs have changed, their priorities have changed. if they make it to build new business cases to match where they are now. because this is their new and probably continuing normal.  

How Your Prospects Feel

You know, and I think that it brings me back to a quote that I love from Tiffani Bova. who used to. I don’t remember where she was when she said this quote, but I know she’s at Salesforce now. She once mentioned that how you sell and how you market matters. And your process, your sales and marketing process matters. but how prospects and customers feel when they engage with you matters more.

And I think that that is something that we’re losing sight of. because, you know, we’re stopping to put are stopping having the intent, attention or focus on interactions with individual prospects and customers as opposed to just trying to hit them as much as we can with as much content with as much messaging whatever it is that we’re doing.  

You get One Chance

But in most cases, I think people forget they you get one chance to win somebody over, you get one chance to protect the account from going somewhere else. or just you know, not continuing with you or even to expand so that one communication misfire. one wrong interaction one spammy email. like you even that message that nurture message you were talking about you were going to disconnect with that person right away.  

So that was that one bit, you know, misfire. you’re going to leave a bad taste in somebody’s mouth. and it’s going to lead to unresponsive Inaction, you know, just crickets on the other end. I think people need to know or need to keep in mind, whether it’s sales, marketing, or account management’s Customer Success teams that you need to speak to the person rather than at them. not at their industry and volume. or to get the volume at accounts.

There’s no relevance. but you have to actually speak to them where you’re giving them value to create that human bond. And I think that’s the best way to get through to these decision makers and the influencers. When you talk about what’s specific to them. What are their specific gaps and impacts and how can you, you know, uniquely fill them? 

Challenger Sales

Awesome. I love it. I love it. You talked a little bit about challenger sales. How can you apply those challenger concepts on LinkedIn when you engage with the leadership? you know, because they’re all ultimately going to be your decision makers. that, you know, thumbs up, we’re good to go thumbs down the deal dies? dead in the water?  

Kristina Jaramillo 15:56   

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Oh, so if people aren’t familiar with challenger sales do like a quick thing up over it. It’s basically a tailoring for resonance teaching for differentiation, taking control of the conversation. When I mentioned earlier about sales and marketing, like speaking at accounts, they’re, you know, they’re speaking to maybe accounts that all look the same. as opposed to treating each individual company and each individual as a separate entity.  

We aren’t being Personally Relevant

And instead of speaking to them, so speaking to them as a person, we, you know, we start to make connections and you know, these nurture messages, send out nurture messages just with this templating. That’s something that would be the exact opposite of what challenger does.  

So that personal relevance that I’ve been, you know, mentioning a lot is really, really needed to speak directly to people. and tailoring for relevance means you speak to what they want, what their needs are, what their challenges are, what their gaps are, and what their impacts are.  

Get as Relevant as you Can

So, if you’re getting right to the heart of it. you’re going to get as relevant as you can. and much more relevant than probably your competitor. reframing thoughts and ideas. Another concept of challenger, it’s, you know, trying to get people to think of something in a new way. And a great way to do this is on your profile in the content you’re sharing. or any kind of messaging that you’re sending out.  

You need to tell stories with them, so that people can see themselves in the story. not those blanketed stories. If you know exactly who your ICP is, you’re going to have a story for them. And obviously, one story is not going to resonate with everyone. you have to have several. but you want them to see themselves in the story as much as possible. so that you can make that emotional connection.  

Enter the Prospects World

And then that’s a way of entering the prospects’ world. And helping them create a buyer’s vision. or created that that whole vision versus what the sales and marketing really typically and traditionally likes to do. Which is force them into their world where you try to push out your own messaging. and pull them through the funnel, as opposed to letting them kind of guide themselves through the funnel.  

When you take the challenger approach on LinkedIn, you’re not making claims. what you’re doing is you’re speaking in a way that the prospect kind of comes to their own conclusion. and can see how you’re different from the stories that you’re telling.  

Show their Gaps and Impacts

And not only show, you know, their personal gaps and impacts, but maybe even your competitors, gaps, and impacts. you can pinpoint what would be the issue, if they went with a specific competitor? Yeah.  

If you’ve prospected nurture the right way, we can apply this kind of approach to live conversations. We can do it with social and email. we can kind of skip the why you conversation when you get into an actual sales one on one. 

 The Challenger Sale

Yep, you can fast forward and kind of begin to shape their buying vision prior to getting live interaction with them. And the role your solution plays. Then in our social profit, prospecting guides, and social guides that I talked about. we have chapters dedicated to this, just so that people can kind of see what I mean. If people haven’t read The Challenger Sale, I really think they should give it a try and add it to their must see, must read list.

Billy Bateman 19:20   

Building a Story Brand

I agree with the challenger sale you got to read it. Also, another book that I think goes, has a lot of the same principles you’re talking about that I read a few months ago was Building a Story Brand. goes right along with The Challenger Sale there. They’re very similar. Just different aspects, you know, the challenger sales, a little more sales focused, story brands a little more marketing focused. I think you bring them together; you have a chance to really have a great experience for your buyers.  

ABM and Linkedin for Accounts

All right. Before, we’ve only got so much time and one thing I wanted to hit you with is you recently spoke at the Demand Gen Summit. and thank you for doing that. But one of the things you talked about was, how you can use ABM and LinkedIn for accounts.  

They’re kind of stuck in the status quo. They showed some progress and just kind of stalled out. I love for you to hit on what you can do there to help use those tools to get those accounts moving again. 

Yeah. Okay. I think the best way to do this would probably be to tell a story. And this is one of my favorite stories because it was such a good result.  

Example story

But we had worked with a client called Schneider national. their 3PL, so a third-party logistics provider, they have big orange trucks that are orange and white trucks. they compete with, you know, like writers and pen scan, things like that. they were pushing out generic messaging, just like their competitors around better people better process better technology.  

That’s something that’s very familiar, similar in SAS, I’m sure people have heard that. And they were targeting Sigma, which is a division of Cisco, so the food company. And you know that particular organization had been targeted by Schneider for about five over five years. they were targeting sales and marketing and being, you know, super unresponsive. because they had heard that typical story about how better people process technology things from everyone.   

See Themselves in the Story

So, it didn’t, it didn’t resonate with them, and they didn’t see their personal gaps. They didn’t see their personal impacts. they didn’t see themselves in that story. you know, when they tried to get in touch with them, they I mean, they had exhausted everything between sales marketing. they had touch social, email, live, phone conversations, and it just wasn’t getting anywhere.   

And the messaging that they were sending out the content they were sharing also had no commercial impact on the buyer. which commercial insights and impact is part of the challenger sale as well. And we took a deeper dive and we looked at Schneiders connections.  

Right Messaging

So, for example, we were working with the VP of sales at Schneider. And she happened to be connected to the VP of logistics at Sigma, which would be their key decision maker. But we noticed that they weren’t having that right conversation. they weren’t sharing the right content, sending the right messaging to make that human can human connection.  

So that’s why it kind of went from a LinkedIn connection, and nothing more. What we did is we redesigned the profiles. we redesigned some articles and content to show how mid-market firms like Sigma, were being underserved by the offering that Schneider was selling. which happened to be a TMS, or a transportation management system.

The Right Messaging

Schneider, what they needed to do is show Sigma and other target accounts that were similar to them, that they’re basically the middle child of the service provider. you know, not big enough to handle and run with the big guns. but not small enough to handle by the real boutique II kind of logistics companies.  

So, what they needed was that Sigma and the buying committee to acknowledge the gaps that they had in their processes. and then their tool, and then the impacts that were being, you know, put on operations across the entire supply chain. and then also impact to their p&l impacts to their employees, their customer service KPIs.   

Create Buyer-Centric Profiles and Content

And you created that bigger buying vision. And ultimately, Schneider basically, created buyer-centric profiles and content and messaging that was speaking at the human versus to them. or speaking Yeah, speaking to them versus at them. That’s what I meant, you know, with the key accounts, they wanted to protect, expand, or win.  

And, you know, they increase their relevance. They started to pull business development through their sales cycle. And they were able to create a six-month sales cycle when they’re typically used to a 12- or 18-month sales cycle.  

Cutting Down on the Sales Cycle

And when yeah, and I’m part of the top of that, Sigma became an account that could be worth anywhere from two to 6 million depending on how long they were able to retain them as a client. That was something that cutting down sales cycles is one awesome one. But if we can even extend the customer lifetime value on top of a close, it’s like icing on the cake. 

Yeah, yeah, I think a lot of us, you know, we really get focused on net new logos. bringing them in, but, you know, retaining customers, expanding customers, huge way to grow your business. that I think, you know, the really smart businesses are focusing on, and some businesses just haven’t got to it or figured it out yet. Can you use the same strategy with LinkedIn and ABM for maybe existing accounts? They’re at risk or expanding, you know, current business?   

Existing Accounts

Yeah, absolutely. We have done that as well. And that goes back to changing that conversation. you have to make sure to say, you know, a current account is coming up for renewal. or you just kind of heard through your connections that they’re looking around, they’re going to other companies to see what they could get.     

You kind of have to change the conversation so we achieve X, Y and Z for you. And then they did XYZ, and we got ABC results. Like, that’s great. And that’s what maybe the person that’s using the solution or using the technology or whatever it is you’re offering is using. they care about that. But the person that’s going to sign off on the deal, the person that’s actually going to approve the extension expansion is going to want to know how that solution is offering whatever it is, how it affected the organization, or the department and group that needed it and used it.   

Talk the Gaps in your Competitor’s Solutions

But how it expanded outwards, outwards, like so how did it influence operations? How did it influence my customers? How did it influence my bottom-line revenue? as much as you can get that way, it kind of shows that if we leave, that’s how much these are the things that are going to be impacted?  

Change the Conversation

And if you can also better yet talk to the gaps that you know that are in your competitor’s solutions. And this is what will happen if you choose the competitor. You can change the conversation because you’re pretty much showing them what’s going to happen if they go that route. You give them something to think about that you know, okay, well we already know what we’re doing here with you.   

But are we willing to take the risk of switching to your competitor when you’ve brought this to our attention? So, I think those are totally different conversations. So you can’t use the same selling conversation that you would have with new as you would with 


Billy Bateman 26:19   

existing awesome Christina. It’s been great. Thanks for sharing all of your knowledge with us if people want to get in contact with you and continue the conversation. What’s the best way for them to reach out? 

Where to find Kristina

Kristina Jaramillo 26:32   

Reach out on LinkedIn Kristina Jaramillo. just make sure you give me a relevant or some insight into why she connects with you. Because I’m super picky and I purge my connections all the time so give me a reason and then I’ll connect. or you can email me at Kristina@personalABM.com check out our website at personalabm.com. Also check out our content community or stop the sales drop which has videos, podcasts, archives, articles about stopping the sales drop. It’s for, you know, the people that we’ve been talking about the audience’s sales marketing, anyone who’s revenue focused, and that’s a great tool as well. Awesome.

Okay, awesome. Thank you, Kristina. And we’ll chat later. Thanks so much, Billy.