Account Based Marketing and Demand Generation

Overview: Learn how you can improve your account based marketing strategy with Gabe Larsen VP of Growth at Kustomer.

About the speaker: Gabe leads Kustomer’s worldwide marketing efforts, including advertising, brand, communications, demand, and digital.

Gabe has never been a typical marketing leader and the numbers and achievements show it. If Gabe is not creating marketing strategies, partnering with sales people to close a deal, producing content to build pipeline, or pioneering new marketing and sales approaches, you’ll find him at home playing with his four boys, at the nearest karaoke bar pretending he’s on America’s Got Talent, or at the gym playing basketball like he’s still in high school.


Hey everybody, Gave Larsen here I’m the Vice President of growth here at Kustomer. Kustomer is a full service, omni channel customer service platform to help companies provide better customer experience. Today we’re going to be talking account-based marketing. Start that being interesting talk track, because there’s a lot of different ideas as to how to do this what it is. So, I want to add my two cents to it.  

So, let’s dive in. probably best to start with the definition here. This is Gabe’s definition. So, don’t take this as absolute truth.  

Account based marketing is a unified strategy in a multi decision maker environment that generates revenue through personalized prospecting. And by based on let me just break that down a little bit. So account based marketing, it’s it is unified, it can’t be something that a sales team does by itself, marketing does by itself, channel does by itself, it needs to be unified across a cohesive group, it is best in a multi decision maker environment, you’re going to see the fruits of this, if you’re going after 1,2,3,4, or 5 up that higher end scale of some of your accounts, if you’re really just targeting one person, some of the principles I think works very well still, but I think you get some synergy as you attack maybe a whole account.   

In addition, we’re focusing on generating revenue. This is not just about prospecting, this is not just something we do for fun, this is about revenue generation. If that’s not the point of account-based marketing, I think you’re missing the point.   

And personalization, that is an absolute key word in this. And I want to talk more about that it needs to be about the account. IIt needs to be about the prospect less about you. You need to give value before you get value back. And then it’s not just the prospecting side of the house. The more you can kind of take this throughout the entire experience. I think you’re going to have a better overall chance of converting that person and driving them to becoming advocates. Which is I think, what we want. So that’s Gabe’s definition of account-based marketing.  

Now, let’s talk about a couple things here for just a minute. I think that most people kind of have gone this direction, and I like some of these features. So, you’ve got the one to one, one to few, and then you’ve got the one to many. It’s just a good way to think through, and you’ll find this with Terminus, you’ll find this with some of the great analyst firms, some sort of tiered level where it waterfalls down, you spend more money more energy on that one to one, then you tone it down just a little bit on that one to few becomes maybe a little bit more templatized. And then that one too many drops down in cost, effort, etc.  

One of the differences is this idea of personalization. And I’ve loved this concept just to think about a personalization pyramid. Now, take this for what you will. But there’s different levels on this first specific reason is you think about an account-based approach. I’ve often thought that this, for me really resonates. On the bottom, I’m thinking about my theme or my campaign or my messaging, industry account, person behavior, these are all different things that we can kind of tee off of, as we think about how to target an account. And each level provides typically a little bit more effort, and then a little better conversion rate down the funnel. 

So, for example, if you used an industry fanatic to reach out to an account. These are the top challenges in the industry or something like that is it works very well. But it would be foundational. As you move up this ladder to the account person and behavior.

Your chance of conversion, my experience goes up. So that’s industry. Account would be focusing on something that the account has done maybe something like taking money. Their growth rates or some big announcement and acquisition that they did or hiring maybe a new person. Or a new division or starting a new division. So those would be all examples of an account very powerful. Or good ideas that you can kind of swarm an accountant.    

Next is then the person and then lastly, behavior. This is where I feel like it starts to get interesting and you just get more bang for your buck here. It’s a little bit harder to find. Sometimes you got to research, just the account but the person and you’ll find things. This might be a specific person in that they just took a new job or this person. maybe find something on their profile that’s unique or interesting about them their title, something in that category. 

And then last but not least, is the behavior aspect. I love this one Personally, I think it works best. I think it works best for me if you’re reaching out to me, but it’s finding something that they’ve done. They spoke at a recent conference and said something, they were on a podcast, they’re part of a nonprofit, and they posted something about it, but it’s actually demonstrated with behavior that you can tee off of that really brings you close to them. And that’s the behavior level.   

So, each of these are different personalization. They can tie into your one to one, one to few or one to many. But I often say hey, if you’re going to run an ABM that one to one, try to get as high up this ladder, this pyramid as you can. And then as you go down, you can start to templatize it around the lower end of this pyramid. So those are some of the things that I like, for the overall Account Based Marketing strategy and how personalization can potentially fit into that.  

Okay, tactically, then how do you start to run an ABM program, I just wanted to put together a one pager that I thought might be, might be interesting to see how the rubber meets the road. So, I do think there’s a couple principles here you’re going to want to follow.  

So, number one is you have to start with persona definition. You need to say I know who I’m going after, through a targeted account, and person’s strategy better to use data here better to use a 6Sense of meta data. Who else is good at helping find the right accounts, right personas, you probably noticed? Or you can do this in house, run your own data, look at customers who’ve purchased from you some of their attributes, and then back that into the right account segmentation.  

And then the right, top three people, you know, the head of operations, the head of sales and the head of marketing, that you want to attack. Always think we skip that phase, because we think we know more than the data. You’ll never regret taking some extra time to try to figure out the who. And tools to help do that. Get your internal teams, even conversations with your sales or your customer success, you can figure that out.  

The next one, I think is an often missed one. And you can do a variety of tools on this one. You can use some ABM tools, you can use just ads. You can use just your own stuff. Meaning your own webinars or I label that high level of digital activity. Because I do feel like right now, obviously, we’re all in this digital first world. But ultimately, you don’t want to have this stuff happened here until, you’ve had some sort of interaction. That is such a key principle if you can make that happen.  

So, I do believe getting some sort of digital outreach via an ad, LinkedIn, Google, and then based on that, visiting a webinar. And then based on that, depending who the account is, you go outbound to that touch. Could be as little as bombora data, you know, just some sort of intent that they’ve interacted with you or visited your website. But man, if you can get some form of, of inbound interaction, I often say I just think these outbound campaigns are going to be much, much more effective.  

So once that digital activity happens, it then can basically trigger some sort of outbound initiative. And that means you shouldn’t if you can ever be going outbound cold if possible. So on the high end, and this is often used more for the enterprise side of the house. Kind of in mid market kind of in the middle and then SMB, I labeled these they don’t have to line up exactly, but I think they’re a good kind of start, just to get you going.   

So the enterprise side, very customized. Again, this is probably more than one to one concept, creating, executing customized programs for individual accounts higher up on that personalization. love to see personalized direct mail get in here. It’s obviously been a little more difficult with our, our COVID world, but I do think that’s a fun one that can really be brought in here and can make a big splash is still very different for a lot of people. If you’re not using personalized direct mailers or dimension or mailers.  

There are other ways to get mailers involved that opt in through forget their names, you can make it yourself, but you basically shoot an email, and then they can choose the gift they want. So that’s not a bad idea. But something that’s more personalized up here, and it does swarm, you’re going to have bdrs get involved in, marketing get involved, you’re gonna have channel get involved, E’s get involved, the more you can swarm that account, with multiple channels. Social, BDR outreach, potentially a marketing, just more display ads, you know, involve as much as you can and make that as personalized as kit.   

If you bring this down a level. Then Normally, this is where I advocate for just a marketing and BDR play marketing. And will co create some of the plays that you use to follow up with the BDR. As a follow up with can still be very customized to them in general can still be very personalized. But that the tone that you take down some of the effort is you take away some of the other groups like the sales team.  

And then last but not least, that digital activity could just result in an MQL. That’s where you have just a follow up a typical follow up strategy from a BDR team. And ultimately, you hope all of that then leads to some sort of results, you know, a customer purchasing from you, etc. So hopefully that’s a little more tactical, and how you can visualize an ABM strategy and some of the principles that do apply. I think that’s probablymost of what I wanted to cover today. I wanted to hit on a couple of these items, but maybe I’ll just talk about them for a second.   

So I do think some of the principles to summarize are, you’ve got to get ahead of this. Think about creating a campaign calendar to make sure you feel comfortable with the different activities and initiatives are coming for. Don’t forget about this idea of give to get, you want to give as much value as you can in an ABM strategy before you ask for something back. 

That’s why that personalization journey becomes so important. Personalization, try to get as high on that ladder as you can. Don’t go outbound without having some sort of inbound intent activity signal. Something like that will change you’ll transform your outbound activities. Then remember that definition it is need to be where you can unified. It doesn’t need to be revenue focus. It’s best in a multi decision maker environment. So those are some of the things I think you’ll find valuable as you think about an ABM strategy for you. So, best of luck. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. I love debating and discussing ABM and other marketing topics. You can find me at Gabe Larson. Thanks everybody and have a fantastic day.