December 8, 2023

ABM on the Cheap

Low budget and high ROI expectations? No problem. This episode of Renegade Marketers Unite is all about how B2B CMOs are building, optimizing, and tracking ABM programs with low-to-no budget.  

Tune in as Julie Kaplan of CareMetx, Olga Noha of SplitMetrics, and Julie Feller of U.S. Legal Support share their top tips for setting up an ABM program that maximizes results without maxing out your team. We’ll cover how to find your target audience, how to align with Sales, the must-haves of a successful ABM program, and a whole lot more. Tune in!   

(P.S. We had a surprise guest—ABX expert, Jon Russo!) 

What You’ll Learn 

  • How 3 CMOs run ABM programs with low to no budget 
  • How to track against ABM goals 
  • ABM program must-haves 

Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 374 on YouTube

Resources Mentioned 


  • [3:53] Julie Kaplan: ABM at CareMetx
  • [8:29] Managing ABM tools
  • [9:39] Measuring ABM performance
  • [14:18] Olga Noha: ABM at Splitmetrics
  • [15:12] Researching your ICPs
  • [18:09] Building and running an ABM program
  • [22:14] Julie Feller: Managing ABM with low to no budget
  • [25:04] Getting your org aligned
  • [26:24] Tracking against ABM goals
  • [31:19] On CMO Huddles
  • [36:17] Jon Russo’s top ABX takeaways
  • [37:16] ABM must-haves
  • [38:36] Planning or implementation: What’s harder?
  • [41:24] How much time does it take?
  • [44:14] Aligning with Sales
  • [46:22] Where would you spend more budget?
  • [49:35] Final words of ABM wisdom  

Highlighted Quotes  

“The word of the day is: Focus. We’re not spending our resources on the look-a-likes; we are focused on being present with our target accounts.” -Julie Kaplan, CMO of CareMetx

“ABM doesn’t have to have a hefty price tag. Focus on your strategy, maximize the tools you already have, and foster close collaboration between marketing and sales. And of course, build strong relationships with your prospects and accounts. ROI will follow.” -Olga Noha, CMO of SplitMetrics

“Email campaigns are a pretty effective and relatively affordable way to communicate with a large amount of prospects and accounts.” -Julie Feller, CMO of U.S. Legal Support 

Jon Russo “Start with one salesperson and get that as a success story. Word of mouth carries over.” -Jon Russo, ABX Expert

Full Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Julie Kaplan, Olga Noha & Julie Feller


Drew Neisser: Hey, it’s Drew. I’m excited that you’re here to listen to another episode of Renegade Marketers Unite. And if this is your first time listening then welcome. This show is brought to you by CMO Huddles, the only marketing community dedicated to inspiring B2B greatness. And that has a logo featuring penguins. Wait, what? Yeah, well, a group of these curious, adaptable and problem-solving birds is called the Huddle. And the B2B marketers and CMO Huddles are all that and more, huddling together to heat up the coldest job in the C suite. And now that CMO Huddles has three membership tiers, we’re ready to inspire B2B Greatness at all levels. To learn more, check out Now before we get to the episode, here’s a shout out to the professionals at Share Your Genius. We started working with them over a year ago to make this show even better and have been blown away by their strategic and executional prowess. If you’re thinking about starting a podcast or want to turbocharge your current show, be sure to talk to Rachel Downey at and tell her Drew sent you. Okay, let’s get on with today’s episode.

Narrator: Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite, possibly the best weekly podcast for CMOs and everyone else looking for innovative ways to transform their brand, drive demand, and just plain cut through. Proving that B2B does not mean boring to business. Here’s your host and Chief Marketing Renegade Drew Neisser.

Drew Neisser: Hello, Renegade Marketers! Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite the top-rated podcast for B2B CMOs and other marketing-obsessed individuals. You’re about to listen to a recording of CMO Huddles Studio, our live show featuring the CMOs of CMO Huddles, a community that’s sharing, caring and daring each other to greatness every day of the week. This time we’ve got a conversation on ABM on the cheap with Huddlers, Julie Kaplan of CareMetx, Olga Noha of SplitMetrics, and Julie Feller of U.S. Legal Support. Let’s dive in. Welcome to CMO Huddles Studio, the live-streaming show dedicated to inspiring B2B greatness. I’m your host Drew Neisser. Live from my home studio in New York City. CMOs nowadays are facing heat to deliver results. I mean, they always have been but it’s really tight right now because of the economy, especially when it comes to Account Based Marketing or ABM. While ABM is effective, we know it takes a lot of time to implement and it’s not normally viewed as cheap. So if you’re not, we are joined by three incredible CMOs who have mastered the unique art of ABM on a tight budget. They’ll share cost-effective strategies and game-changing tactics to reach the right accounts and build strong relationships. Get ready for an ABM journey like no other and a special surprise guest who is here with me in the studio. It is a live show and we’re keeping things fresh. And with that, let’s bring on Julie Kaplan, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Revenue Operations of CareMetx LLC, and a returning guest who previously appeared on the show to discuss the first 90 days and employee culture. Hello, Julie, how are you? And where are you?

Julie K: I’m well. I’m here in Maryland, and it’s lovely to be back on the podcast.  

Drew: Yeah, the live-streaming show. And then the podcasts. It’s amazing. Well, it’s great to have you so I would love it if you could set the stage on what you’ve been doing at CareMetx on ABM.

Julie K: So this show is about how to make the most out of a modest budget. So the word of the day for us is focus, we stick to our target account list, we really really focus in on them. A lot of companies will also add a look-alike list. We’re not doing that. We’re just sticking to our target account lists. And we are present with them all the time. And we also have triggered campaigns, but again, it’s all very focused on specific stages.

Drew: Okay, so let’s dive in and do a couple of things. Target accounts. How many and how did you sort of develop those?

Julie K: Right, so we have about 300 target accounts. That’s a little deceptive because we might work with multiple teams in one account. We partnered with sales and really the target account list is driven by sales, not by us. So we work with them, we focus on who are the accounts that are most likely to want to do business with us, because we have the right set of skills and tools to win their business and we’re better than our competitors in these certain sets of circumstances. So the target account list is based on where we are set up to provide the best services for that particular account. 

Drew: So other people might call that an ICP, an ideal customer profile, they have a certain business size, they obviously have a need, what you don’t know or what I didn’t hear is that you know that they’re shopping or anything, they’re actually in the market for your services or do you?

Julie K: Right. We don’t know necessarily whether they’re shopping, but we work with pharmaceutical manufacturers, so we know whether there’s a product that they have that’s about to launch. So we’re focused on those accounts where their product is about to launch

Drew: Okay. And that’s when you talked about trigger campaigns because that is a trigger, right? They’re gonna launch a new drug, that’s a moment where you can help.  

Julie K: For us, that’s a criteria for them being our target account. A trigger campaign is based on their search behavior. So you’re searching for a particular service, and they’re researching us or a competitor, we’re gonna put our service in front of them at that moment in time.

Drew: So those trigger campaigns are based I’m guessing on intent signals. 

Julie K: That’s right, correct.

Drew: Okay and you are finding those intent signals how?

Julie K: We use a tool called Sixth Sense. And so it’s their searching on certain keywords and certain combinations of keywords. That’s when we use the trigger. That’s when we trigger the campaign and it’s set up automatically. So that’s always on, we don’t have to think about it. 

Drew: Now, I know that a lot of folks when they hear Sixth Sense, they think about the whole package and a very expensive tool, but there is a sort of a light version, right? 

Julie K: Right. We don’t have actually enough clearance to have used their predictive analytics, which is fine. We are leveraging their tool to understand intent signals and to render digital ads. And it’s a very easy and effective way to do that. And we also do the same thing on LinkedIn and those two things are tied together.

Drew: Okay. Let me ask you then, how are they tied together?

Julie K: You can deploy the LinkedIn campaign through the Sixth Sense platform.

Drew: Oh, that’s interesting. So they must have had some kind of partner agreement because LinkedIn has very strict policy about third-party applications. So they must have a built-in agreement there. You mentioned the term lookalike and I just want to be clear, because it’s funny, I was at a ZoomInfo event last night, and they were talking about one of the CMOs on the panel was talking about how lookalikes had been very helpful for them. Why did you decide not to use look-alikes?

Julie K:  Because we have to concentrate our effort and resources on winning the core business. Now, that doesn’t mean lookalikes don’t come our way. And we certainly don’t reject business that comes our way, in fact, we welcome it, of course, but we’re not spending our resources on the look-alikes, we are just focused on being present with our target accounts. 

Drew: Right. A couple more questions on this. So a lot of issues when it comes to ABM tools is that it takes staff to manage those tools. How are you doing that with your Sixth Sense implementation? How many staffers do you have dedicated to it? 

Julie K: We don’t have a particular staff dedicated to it. I do have a good-sized team, we don’t have the luxury of having one person to be focused just on executing campaigns. So we are focused on setting up simple campaigns that can run ongoing, and we will analyze them and occasionally update them. We just simply don’t have the luxury of being able to be all in it, all the time. So we have, you can say a partial resource for that,

Drew: But again, this is the show about ABM on the cheap, the word you started with was focus and then we talk about simple campaigns. And again, I think that if you were doing ABM on the cheap, that is such a key framework because you can’t run 10 plays or campaigns, and you can’t try to do those things. So I really appreciate that perspective. Now, let’s talk a little bit about how you’re tracking the performance of these programs. So what are your goals and how do you see yourself getting close to those goals? 

Julie K: Alright, so before I talk about the goals, I’m going to just sort of talk about the role and relationship we have with sales because that’ll make a little more sense then. Before an account is in our funnel, we call them pre-funnel, you might call them in the research phase, or you know, there’s all sorts of names for that. But that’s where marketing takes the lead and sales provides support to us with knowing what messages works and what the accounts are, were in the lead, they provide a support function, as soon as the account ends up in the funnel, whether it’s marketing driven, or sales driven, sales takes the lead, and then we provide a support function. So our two goals are based on those two roles. We’re either providing an assist to sales, between sales conversations, or helping them with their sales conversations, or we’re creating opportunities, and we are doing both.

Drew: So one of the things that I heard last night, so it’s fresh in my mind is that these kinds of things you track, what percentage of your total business is coming from this type of program, relative to say, direct sales or some other form of things? Are you able to do that on the cheap? And are you feeling good? I’m not gonna ask you to necessarily give me the data, although that would be awesome. But how are you feeling about the percentage of business that this ABM program is driving?

Julie K: Yeah, we just looked at the last 12 months of marketing-driven leads and without sharing the insights, let’s just say it’s substantial opportunity that was driven by marketing-driven leads. And all the sales wins, we call assists. That means we were helping to keep CareMetx present during the sales cycle that allows us to stay 100% aligned with sales, there’s no conflict between us and sales. We have the exact same goals, create opportunities, and assist the sales in winning opportunities. So that’s what we’re really looking at. Now we have other marketing and rev ops type metrics, but ultimately, it’s assists in marketing-driven leads.

Drew: Marketing-driven leads, not marketing-driven opportunities? 

Julie K: Marketing-driven opportunities. 

Drew: Okay, fine. 

Julie K: That’s what we’re counting.

Drew: And it’s interesting, you know, in Huddles we’ve talked a lot about whether MQLs or MQ Os are really a term, and we’ll let that go because what I heard before and I know this is a huge part of ABM success is a complete alignment between marketing and sales. You guys agree on the account lists, and that when one of these folks raises their hand, marketing says, “Hey, this is an opportunity” sales believes you and follows up on it with a play. And then you also mentioned that you’re continuing to assist along the way, and I’m imagining is that sort of, say programmatic advertising that is exposing, is continuing to track them? Or is it just content and giving the salespeople helpful enablement tools?

Julie K: We keep those accounts in the awareness campaign, and we are adding those new leads, those opportunities to our blog, so that, you know, we’re sending them fresh content all the time. So we are sending them digital advertising, we’re rendering digital advertising, we’re starting to support with some email content, and certainly, what’s on our website, but we know our prospects are going to those blogs.

Drew: Right. Okay. Well, Julie, what a great way to kick off the show. I feel like there’s so many keys to a successful ABM on the cheap. Focus, simple and so great. We’ll be back with you in a minute. Now let’s welcome Olga Noha, who is the CMO at SplitMetrics, who has previously joined us on this show to shed light on the intricacies of international marketing and customer events. Hello, Olga. Welcome back.

Olga: Hello, Drew. Thank you for having me back.

Drew: And just to confirm, where are you this fine day?

Olga: I’m currently working from Boston and it’s a great pleasure as always to be here in CMO Huddle Studio.

Drew: Well, I love it and I know that as you were listening to what Julie had to say, I’m wondering, as you give an overview of SplitMetrics, how is your approach similar or different to what Julie was doing?

Olga: Absolutely, Drew. I’ll start with a brief intro of SplitMetrics and why ABM is important to us. At SplitMetrics to serve as a growth engine for two mobile-first businesses worldwide. Through our ecosystem of products and services, we are a nimble search partner. We built a platform that helps companies like Skyscanner, Babbel, and Glovo automate and optimize their Apple Search Ads. So yes, we have an offering for smaller advertisers as well, but focusing on large enterprises and brands is core for us. So I definitely second what Julie said today about the power of focus. And that’s why we heavily rely on the ABM approach.

Drew: So let’s talk. Julian mentioned they had 300 accounts in their sort of ideal customer profile that they’re focused on. What’s your profile? You already mentioned what they are, but do you have a sense of how many are in your program?  

Olga: Yeah, we have a little more than that – we have 600 of such accounts. We actually started our ABM journey from a research that broke down what types of customers drive our business growths most, and what types of organizations we should focus on in our ABM. That’s how we then defined the actual list of organizations that we are most interested in. Based on this research we are big advocates of a data-driven approach. And we also knew we wouldn’t succeed without sales and marketing alignment. So we didn’t initiate any work on ABM before we made sure that both of the teams are committed to collaborating closely – from actually identifying target accounts to nurturing them and finally closing the deals. As all of us, we went through the steps of identifying target accounts – the sales team was driving it, and that was based on the research that we performed and data that we were able to collect for different services. We ended up with a list of 600 accounts that we are most interested in. We went through the stage of mapping account data, selecting channels, developing tailored content and messaging for them. And this latter part was an important one as we have so much expertise to share. We at SplitMetrics believe we are the biggest experts in Apple Search Ads on the market because through years we have seen more Apple Search accounts than anybody else. And it was crucial for us to map this insight we could share to what our target accounts would most benefit from. So we split our list into categories and tailored our content to these categories and even specific companies – sharing benchmarks that they could expect from Apple Search Ads in their category, sharing best practices and how their specific company could leverage the platform better because we want to deliver as much value as we can at any stage of our communications.  

Drew: Which is great. It’s funny, we’ve come to call that, in Huddles and not sales enablement or buyer enablement. We’re calling it value enablement and that’s such a great example of it – you have data that is of value to the customer, so you can really help them. And I imagine that’s a high interest to your prospects. But I want to go back to something that you mentioned because I hadn’t heard – I want to just make sure I fully understand the research and how you did this. I mean, how because you got it down to 600. But how did you identify the characteristics? Was it looking at your current customers and sort of tracking them? What else did you do? Did you do this all in-house? And how long did that take?

Olga: Yeah, we did that research all in-house and basically, we looked at our current customer database and broke them down by different categories. And based on size, analyze some other metrics, like their retention rates, and the churn rates, the ARR that we get with each customer’s many other metrics that show the health of the customer base. At the end of the day, we got the understanding of which segment of customers is driving our business forward. And that’s how we approached it to be able to build the list that we are really interested in because we know it takes a lot of effort to build out the ABM campaign and the approach. And we wanted to make sure that all the efforts we invest go into the right ICPs. We’re also talking about not working with infinite budgets today. So we executed our entire ABM flow and our campaigns in a very cost-efficient way – we maximized the use of our existing technology, HubSpot, Acronis, etc. I will elaborate on it more –  and refocusing our campaigns and their actual budgets from targeting by demographics and interests to targeted by specific accounts in our ABM lists and most target titles within these accounts. So we didn’t have the luxury of adding extra budgets for the ABM motion but we wanted to keep that focus – it’s very important. So we actually reallocated the existing budgets to that approach. We practice ongoing measuring and analysis of the results and continuous improvements. And you know ABM isn’t a one-off strategy- we understand that it’s a longer process. But it was important for us to know if we are moving in the right direction. So we not only were tracking the revenue generated through this approach but much earlier stages like engagement with the accounts, pipeline that we generate, to see if we’re moving in the right direction. And speaking about resources, human resources within our team, similarly to what Julie just shared, we don’t have the option of dedicated separate FTEs to this motion. So we defined within our marketing team a marketing leader who was driving the motion, but we also leveraged a lot of shared resources to execute on specific aspects of it and run campaigns, prepare content, etc.

Drew: Right, awesome. Okay, so, a few takeaways from me: research your ICP really carefully because, you know, garbage in, garbage out, if you don’t have the right list, you’re not going to succeed. Secondly, just a reminder that your next customer is most likely to look like your current best customer and so that kind of helps you frame it. And then, yeah, sometimes it’s not about the tool. It’s about the alignment and the process. Okay. Well, Olga, thank you for that. We’ll be back to you in a little bit. But let’s bring on Julie Feller, Head of Marketing at U.S. Legal Support, and an industry expert who has graced our stage before to delve into the topic of acquisition and rebranding. Hello, Julie, wonderful to see you again. How are you and where are you?

Julie F: Thank you for having me again, it’s great to be back. I am wonderful. Still in sunny San Diego.

Drew: Lucky you, the most constant temperature of any city in America. 

Julie F: It’s not bad out here. 

Drew: Not bad at all. Alright. You’ve gotten multiple roles with robust ABM technology and many without. So let’s talk about how you manage ABM-like programs without much of a budget for it.

Julie F: Yeah, absolutely. I think while having technology to run an ABM program is ideal, I actually find it pretty fun and helpful to start from the ground up with a really small budget or small team or both since it helps to lay a good foundation for early testing and getting some insights which can be used when implementing a full-blown program down the road. Like Julie and Olga shared, I think working closely with sales is key to identify and make the framework for who the target accounts are going to be. So let’s assume all of that has been done, what can you do that we’ll consider very much on the cheap, I would start with email campaigns since it’s a pretty effective and relatively affordable way to communicate with large amount of prospects and accounts. So for me, kind of like what Olga was sharing, the CRM has always been key to helping to identify and tag those accounts and contacts in order to run the list and create personalized messaging and campaigns and other content and advertising. So I think that tagging in the CRM, which is really again, a collaborative effort with sales, because if they’re not helping and notating things the way that is agreed upon, making content by persona or by account won’t work because you’re not able to identify them and send things to them. Being in the B2B software and services space, collecting data, about every contact, their location, their job title, their practice, specialties is helpful since a lot of the segmentation that we do currently is based on the type of business that our client conducts. So kind of knowing who they are, and what’s important to them, helps us then hone our messaging and give them what they’re really looking for. We also use HubSpot and I think that having marketing automation platform integrated with the CRM is very helpful, because you can use the data from those email campaigns about who’s clicking links, who’s visiting web pages, and other functionality that comes built-in with the platform to further customize future messages and actions based on the activities that they’re taking. So I think starting somewhere with the information that you’re able to collect will give you a jumping off point to leverage that data and their engagement to communicate with them at the right time with the right messaging, whether that’s email sequences, one-on-one follow-up from sales, you name it.

Drew: I want to go back to a point and it seems so obvious that the data needs to be clean, but let’s talk about it. In some ways, sales’ job is to close business, right, and they’re out there and many of the best ones are just hunting and doing a really good job, just building relationships and getting it done. What they don’t want to do is spend time inputting account information and so forth, but ABM won’t work unless the data is pristine. So from when you started and shifted to an ABM program, how did you get people aligned to actually behave in a sort of we’ll call it an organizational management?

Julie F: I think that’s kind of always a challenge, isn’t it, with any program, ABM or not. One-on-one small group conversations have always worked well, starting with kind of the lead sales leadership and marketing leadership and making sure we’re all on the same page. But I think working with sales and showing them, not just explaining what we’re doing, but showing them how we’re doing it, why we’re doing it, and giving them examples of wins that we’ve had, I always like to have a little pilot group of sales reps who are going to help and so I can show the rest of the team, “Hey, look, here’s the big picture. Here’s how your colleagues have leveraged the data, here’s what’s worked for them, and here’s all the steps that we will help you with if you help us a little bit to get to where we want to be in the end.” And obviously, I’d be the one.

Drew: And thank you for mentioning the pilot because that is such a sometimes skip but really important step, is find a salesperson who’s eager to do something like this and maybe you’ve seen that they’re highly engaged on LinkedIn or they express behavior that suggests they’re sort of into it. And then suddenly they’re hitting quota or beating quota ahead of others, and then other people in sales would go, “Whoa, what are they doing differently?” So that, I think, is important. Let’s just talk about your goals with your program, and how are you tracking against those goals.

Julie F: Yeah, absolutely. I think any program, whether on the cheaper or more robust program, obviously winning business is the ultimate goal. But I think finding those magic moments where you’re able to engage with the buyer, where they need you, and when they really need you to help move them through the journey is key. So continuing to analyze what’s working, but also what isn’t working, so that you can refine the process, the campaigns, the messaging, to really make sure that you are able to get those magic moments which are not always spelled out and most of the time not spelled out clearly, there’s no flag in my system that says here, they’re having that magic moment. So I think a lot of the tracking comes back to analyzing email metrics, working closely with sales and some of the ways that they notate accounts, looking at activity on the website, looking at analytics from other content sources that we’re sending to them to really figure out where we’re connecting the dots for them. And then of course, rinsing and repeating that with similar accounts.

Drew: There’s a lot of iteration and testing going on here that you’re describing. I’m wondering if you can share something where something that didn’t work, because that’s a good throwaway—may not want to share what has worked. But is there something that you’ve learned along the way that suddenly didn’t work as well as you expected?

Julie F: Yeah, I think sometimes it’s kind of a combination of what does and doesn’t work. So for us, we thought, there’s been a time where we’ve done a campaign that involves a webcast and some follow-up-related content and we saw a lot of success with that with one set of accounts that looked very similar to one another. So we said, “Okay, let’s take that and give it to this other set of accounts that is very closely related to them.” And there was a few differences in the personas that really made that content not as effective and so what we thought was, ended up not, which is why it was important to be looking initially at things for us like client meetings. And there’s a lot of conversations, it’s a very relationship-driven industry. And so if those meetings that are getting booked go down, or are not going up as we thought they would, then that’s when we have to reevaluate what we were doing.

Drew: Interesting. Okay. And you’ve already mentioned the tools that you’re using. I’m just curious how many companies you have in your target account list.

Julie F: So it fluctuates, a few hundred.

Drew: And again, I think we’re zeroing in on without massive, more robust tools, having a list of more than 600 is probably problematic to make ABM on the cheap. So how long have you sort of been implementing this? How long did it take you? Julie talked about marketing assistant opportunities, where you were starting to see this was having an impact on pipeline.

Julie F: I’ll go back to one of my previous roles, I would say that sales cycle on average was around nine to 12 months. We started with ABM and I would say probably about four to five months in, we started to be able to actually pinpoint those marketing-assisted sales that were happening. And so we were seeing those little wins early on, which then obviously opened up more space for a little bit more budget and a little bit more expansion of the program. But I think it definitely from the time we were launching, but also worth mentioning that developing the content, developing the framework for who’s going to be the target, and kind of putting together the framework for those first campaigns, takes time too. So if you add that probably closer to like 60.

Drew: Well, and I’m glad you shared that. I suspect it’s the same for Julie and Olga, that if you’re going to your boss and you’re saying ABM is it going to be a quick win—you’re not managing expectations very well, it takes time to create the ICP, especially if you do the research like Olga does. It takes time to develop the content. Even if you’re doing simple plays, like Julie Kaplan suggested, it takes time. So don’t go in day one and say, “My quick win is going to be ABM”—you don’t want to do that.

Julie F: Yeah, it’s the constant experimentation and testing of the messaging, but also constantly talking with sales to find out what are the pain points of the prospects that they’re talking with. What are the recent conversations they’ve been having? What are the timelines and things of that nature that the clients are sharing with them so that we can really have more information on them as well?

Drew: Yeah, one last point about the whole ABM thing which we could have mentioned at the top of the line is, you know, if it takes six months before you even see results, and you have to invest in technology, and it’s a lot of time, the question that some might be asking is, does it pay out? And at this conference I was at, or just this event I was at last night, the answer is, and this is through a Bain analysis, they looked at companies that sort of outperformed everybody else. And sure enough, they had a go-to-market strategy that included this ICP on a focused effort, and they had a higher return over time. So there is evidence that ABM really works. Again, we just need patience. Okay, it’s time for me to talk about CMO Huddles, launched in 2020. CMO Huddles is an exclusive community of over 100 highly effective B2B CMOs come together to share, care, and dare each other to greatness. One CMO Huddles described Huddles as a cross between an executive workshop and a therapy session and given how hard things are getting out there who doesn’t need a little reassurance that they’re not alone? Everything about CMO Huddles is designed to be a force multiplier, helping you to make faster, better, and more informed decisions. Since no CMO can outwork this crazy job, CMO Huddles is here to help you outsmart it. So let’s bring back Julie and Olga. And I’ve sort of two questions for you to consider. One is, are you on the therapy side or executive workshop side? And I’m wondering if you could share a specific example of how CMO Huddles has helped you in your job. Feel free to volunteer.

Julie K: I can volunteer. So I would say it depends on the month – sometimes it’s therapy, and sometimes it’s the other. So it depends where I am that month. I will give you an example, a very real example of something that I got from Huddles relatively early on and still use on the regular. We have a relatively new team or we did at the time, and I wanted to bring clarity to each team member about how to move through their career. This isn’t unique to marketing, it’s a leadership tool that I wanted to use. We didn’t have one at our disposal and I just reached out to Huddles and said, does anyone have role-based expectations? And sure enough, within 10 minutes, someone had a beautiful chart, all mapped out with a progression. And I just had to make a few changes and I was ready to use that right away. In many similar circumstances, I would have had to research for hours, I would have had to write for hours, I saved myself at least 10 hours of work just on that one example. That happens probably every month.

Drew: Amazing, I so appreciate that story. And because one of the biggest issues that CMOs always say to us, “I don’t have time for CMO Huddles, I don’t have time to breathe.” And what we’re trying to get across here and what you shared is that you spend an hour with us, you might just end up saving 10. Anyway, Julie or Olga – any thoughts you want to share?

Julie F: I think I’m an even split as well. It’s really helpful and quite frankly, reassuring to hear that other marketing leaders are facing similar challenges. Equally as helpful to get ideas on how they’ve solved those similar challenges. I think for me, vendor recommendations has been incredibly helpful. There are so many people out there, obviously, that do a multitude of different digital marketing and everything that we could possibly need. So hearing firsthand from people who they’re using, why they like them, helps weed out a lot of other companies and make decisions a little bit easier. But I think also kind of like Julie shared, saving the time for me when it comes to budget-related items and how much people are spending here versus there or how they’re framing their budget questions or that they’re getting back from the board or whomever on the executive team has been really beneficial as well to kind of share some benchmarks.

Drew: Awesome, I love it. Okay, Olga.

Olga: Yeah, thank you for sharing this experience with me. I also have the same experience. For me, its executive workshop. One of the recent examples when I’ve got a lot of value out of this community was just this week. We all know how important it is to build systems and processes, and organizational charts is fundamental to do that, right? Making the wrong move on that level could cost you a fortune. So we are now launching a new GTM motion within the company and I asked the community about their firsthand feedback and real-life approaches to this situation when their teams run multiple GTM motions – how do they structure these teams? And I’ve got great responses, great insights from the community right away. That was very helpful. Everyone who responded, thank you very much.

Drew: I love that because it did happen this week, it was on Slack and you get two responses. Because it’s, you know, everybody’s so busy, I was really thrilled to see that. Anyways, thank you all for those lovely kind words, I feel the love, and it’s wonderful. If you’re a B2B CMO who can share, care, and dare with the best of them, please check out

Drew: Alright, let’s bring everybody back and our surprise guest, Jon. Hello, Jon.

Jon: Hi, Drew. Thanks for having me at the worldwide headquarters here of CMO Huddles.

Drew: Jon, you’ve just listened to three CMOs who are doing ABM on the cheap, if you will. What’s your take and what questions do you have for these folks?

Jon: Yeah, well, first of all, you got a great set of members here that are talking about ABX and doing it on the cheap – I almost wish you could take one aspect from each of the individuals that presented – for example, some of the work that the first Julie has done on the technology side and the identification or target market, the research that Olga has done. And I think what I really was struck with was the last Julie who spoke about the level of understanding and the detail that CMOs have to get into for an ABX platform. I think was evident by how she presented herself. This is not an easy solve. You have to get into a level of detail at a C-level that you may not be used to doing. But that’s how you move the needle further. So if in a perfect world, you could take the technology approach, the research approach, the detail approach – wrap it into one and build a new company that would have a lot of resources, you’d be on your way. I think everybody’s doing the best they can give them what they have.

Drew: Cool. Let’s bring everybody else back on. Gabby Satterfield, one of the members of the CMO Huddles community asked what tools and tech are must-have to do ABM on the cheap. And you gotta have a database, that CRM right, but only one of you actually has an ABM-like platform. Julie, you have SixthSense (Julie Kaplan), and Olga and Julie, are you both using HubSpot? Is there anything else that you think you must have in order to do ABM on the cheap?

Olga: Well, for us it’s, in addition to Hubspot – where we automate all the processes. It’s also the outreach and engagement tools like Apollo and data enrichment tools like ZoomInfo. And of course, as I mentioned, we wanted to target with our messages not people who fall into the demographics or interests, but specific roles in our ABM-listed accounts. So we use the native LinkedIn, Google, Twitter, advertising platforms that allowed us to make that target and that was our way out to execute on ABM campaigns without having specialized tools which are really great but can be pricey.

Drew: There you have it, Gabby. Jon, anything else that you want to add to that?

Jon: I think that’s perfect.

Drew: Alright. So we’re gonna keep going. So, which is harder, the planning or the implementation? And how do you know you’re on track?

Julie F: Okay, I’ll jump in to start. I think that the planning and the strategizing, I find that easie and it’s fun, you can come up with ideas all day, every day about the different campaigns and messaging and everything you’d like to try. The challenge then becomes, especially with a smaller budget or smaller team comes when it’s time to actually implement those plans, create the materials, pulling reports, especially if you’re working for multiple systems and things of that nature. So for me, I always start with a pretty lofty list and break it down into phases, and then even sub-phases to provide a roadmap of kind where to start and I build in some milestones to make sure that I’m checking along the way of what’s working, what isn’t working with sales again in that communication, making sure building up the reporting framework as early as possible so that I know if I’m on track in an individual phase.

Drew: So Olga, Julie – are you both on the implementation side is the challenge as well?

Julie K: I have a different perspective here. It’s not whether it’s implementation, for me at least, or planning. It’s more around, my appetite is greater than my stomach for all the projects that we need to do and push forward. And I lack patience probably like my colleagues here. And so managing to what we can stage out reasonably whether it’s the planning and strategy part or the implementation part – that’s the challenge at least for me and that’s just a personality thing.

Drew: Well, no, but I bet your CRO or your head of sales has the same problem.

Julie K: There are very few people at that level who are patient with scope versus not. So not a surprise there.

Jon Russo: Quick clarifying question, it looked like you’re a CRO was newer to the organization as well. So are you seeing any special dynamics there with that person, if they are newer?

Julie K: Well, we don’t have a CRO we have a Chief Commercial Officer, and he hired me, we’re on the same page. We want this to happen as quickly as possible. We also want to do it the right way. So managing our own personal expectations and goals. And still trying to drive things forward while being reasonable about it is difficult because you don’t know exactly how long these things are going to take. You don’t know exactly how much time on a Gantt chart to put around it because we rely on so many people, we rely on collaborating with almost every department in the organization. Imagine trying to get at least one or two people in every department on the same schedule when this is their sidekick, not their primary gig for a lot of people. At least for me. That’s the challenge.

Drew: I’m wondering if and let’s bring the three of you back. Knowing now that it’s going to take six months to do it and Julie Kaplan’s expression of impatience, because we want to get this done. And I’m sure there’s pressure from above to get this done faster. Is there any step along the way that you now know, oh, we could have done this faster.

Julie K: I’m just gonna chime in. For six months, sounds super fast to me. I mean, that’s awesome. Congratulations to you guys. We had 18 months, now remember, we were building from scratch so maybe that’s not analogous. But it takes a while so if there are those of you out there who aren’t on the six-month train, you’re not alone.  

Drew: So Olga, Julie, was six months realistic, or do we just make that up and just when you retrospect, it was really longer?   

Julie F: I mean, it was probably a laundry record. But we also, we weren’t implementing multiple technology stacks. So starting at a very small scale, when you’re looking to create a target list. And even if that target list has 25 accounts to start, and you’re going to start somewhere, that would be the shorter timeframe, for sure, definitely not implementing SixthSense or any other platform like that.

Drew: Get to the pilot to both establish the methodology or you know the process, get a buy-in, an advocate from a salesperson. And that might be something you could do faster, while you’re really planning out the longer thing. Okay, Jon, how long does it take?   

Jon: It takes anywhere from six to 18 months and I think, you know, as Julie was walking through, and kind of that pilot thing, I wholeheartedly agree, you got to get that buy-in. I guess the question that I would come back to Julie on is, okay, you’re having that success, you’re going to have that success in the pilot. What do you see is next for your organization?   

Julie F: Not in a pilot phase right now, in the past, what we have found is we kind of pilot two ways, we’ll pilot with our internal processes with a smaller tech stack, and then also pilot with some sort of tech that we’re looking to implement. So I think that for us, what has worked well in the past has been that, once we have some sales reps that we’re working with, without a full tech stack, we start to then look at what we would want to implement and look to do a pilot program with the technology with the sales reps who are part of the initial pilot. And we start working together to collaborate on what functionality we want to start with since a lot of the platforms do have a lot of options and the budget can get, I don’t want to say out of hand, but can get very large very fast. And so it’s always been very small, incremental steps of testing one new thing at a time.  

Drew: Oh, interesting. Well, let’s see. So Megan says “We recently started a very small list of 48 accounts on a three-month timeframe.” Good for you “really helped us learn a lot about what we need to have in place to extend the approach.” Brilliant. Thanks for sharing that Megan. Okay, all three of you had pretty tight sales alignment. We know that that’s essential to this. This is a question from Karen Glaser, who asked during Julie Kaplan’s segment, “How does sales bolt onto each of your simple campaigns?”   

Julie K: They don’t. Those simple campaigns are pre-funnel campaigns. So until the prospect takes an action and fills out a form, we don’t really engage sales. That’s just because they don’t have the capacity to be in those early nurture phases. We have to take the lead for them on that while we’re resource-constrained. When somebody fills out a form then sales is all in.  

Olga: For us, it’s similar, not necessarily the form would be a trigger, but rather the lack of engagement, the accounts show, we track everything starting from visits of target accounts to our website and clicks, when our ads, email opens and forms link submission, of course. And once we have sufficient level of engagement shown by a specific account, especially, we also, let’s see, if there are any additional contacts that we are interested in that phone to our ICP from the same accounts or doing something with our campaigns. So once that is done, we hand off to sales and engage them to step in but similarly to what Julie said, we do not ask them to be involved earlier than that.  

Drew: This is the moment of the show where we always ask what would Ben Franklin say, I know that’s a random thing. If you know me, and look back at my book collection, you know, I’m obsessed with this man who I described as America’s first Chief Marketing Officer, he would have been a big fan of ABM because he loved science and the use of data and was constantly learning. But I think what he would say here is beware of little expenses, a small leak will sink a great ship. So thank you, Ben, for joining us on that. And it’s a perfect lead-in to, if you had more budget. What would you spend it on? And let’s go around the room. Julie Feller, more budget for ABM, what would you do?  

Julie F: I think first and foremost, more staff, I want people to understand our business, our clients, our target clients, how they conduct business, therefore, how they buy from us how they engage with us, and having that right team in place, really makes it easier to expand and implement new programs and new technologies. For us content is still king and in my world. And so having more people who understand our ideal customer profile can help create messaging for various personas and stages of their buyer’s journey is really paramount to making sure we’re leveraging any technology to the best of our abilities. 

Drew: And I want to make a little exclamation point on it and I’ve observed this now in so many different organizations, you are really serious about something when there is a person’s title, responsible for that something. So when you have an ABM person dedicated to that, and there that’s their title, then, you know, the organization has committed. So I totally agree. Julie Kaplan, any other thoughts on where you’d spend the money?  

Julie K: Yeah, this is gonna sound a little strange. I would invest in earned media and then I would re-promote the earned media in this awareness campaigns a lot. Again, we’re talking fantasy land where I had an extra million dollars to do that. But I absolutely, that’s what I would do.  

Drew: Interesting and what would the result of that in your mind be? What would that do for you?  

Julie K: It means that wall before people are looking for our services. It’s an implied endorsement. Like if we’re in a publication, and it’s earned media, not we’ve paid to be in an article, and we’ll promote it in ABM, one of the things that we found out very interestingly is when we did a press release for a new chief, that was among some of the best click-throughs that lead to forms than just regular ads. People, It just happens to be something that’s effective for our audience.   

Drew: It’s funny, it’s a lesson in social media. I noticed all the time on LinkedIn when it’s just a picture of say, a couple of our Huddles meeting in person, and you do that those posts do crazy. Well, it’s just a social platform so that makes total sense to me. But what you’re really talking about is expanding the reach and the awareness level of your organization through a third-party credibility. Okay, Olga, you got another million dollars, where would you spend it?

Olga: Three buckets for me. Additional resources to our team to work on that and probably hopefully, have a separate title for ABM, enhanced content creation. We are doing a great job with that already but good, not leverage more, including personalized video content and advertising budgets for those personalized ads.

Drew: Well, gosh, there’s been so much wisdom shared in this and I think this has really been chock-a-block rich with insights. I’m gonna ask the four of you including Jon, but I’m gonna let you three go first, final words of wisdom for other CMOs trying to implement ABM without a big budget and we’ll start with Julie Feller.

Julie F: I’d say don’t be afraid of starting small. Having even just a few automated emails, based on data available will help you gather more data to expand your efforts. So anything is better than nothing.

Drew: Alright, so we’re gonna start small. Okay, Julie Kaplan.

Julie K: Focus, simplicity, and repetition.

Drew: Alright, we’re starting small, which is also part of being focused. And we’re repeating so that eventually we can measure, okay, and Olga, final words of wisdom.,

Olga: Yeah. ABM doesn’t have to have to have a hefty price tag, focus on your strategy, maximize the tools that you already have, and foster close cooperation between marketing and sales. And of course, build strong relationships with your prospects and accounts.

Drew: Well, thank you all, for Jon, your final words of wisdom?

Jon: My final words will be, start with one salesperson and get that as a success story. So word of mouth kind of carries over.

Drew: Yeah, and I’ve heard that is such a great thing and that person is going to behave differently than other salespeople and you can see that behavior based on what they’re doing. Maybe, you know, they’re incredibly active on LinkedIn and Navigator or they’re just folks that are ready to use these tools and take advantage of it. Okay, that’s it. Thank you, Julie, Julie, Olga, and our special guest, Jon, for joining us in the world headquarters of CMO Huddles, you’re all great sports. Thank you, audience for staying with us. I’m really confident you got a lot of good stuff out of this.

To hear more conversations like this one and submit your own questions while we’re live. Join us on the next CMO Huddles Studio. We stream to my LinkedIn profile, that’s Drew Neisser, every other week.

Show Credits
Renegade Marketers Unite is written and directed by Drew Neisser. Hey, that’s me! This show is produced by Melissa Caffrey, Laura Parkyn, and our B2B podcast partners Share Your Genius. The music is by the amazing Burns Twins and the intro Voice Over is Linda Cornelius. To find the transcripts of all episodes, suggest future guests, or learn more about B2B branding, CMO Huddles, or my CMO coaching service, check out I’m your host, Drew Neisser. And until next time, keep those Renegade thinking caps on and strong!