July 6, 2023

A CMO’s Guide to Adopting Account-Based Marketing 

Thinking of adopting (or ramping up) ABM? Welcome to part 1 of two episodes dedicated to implementing Account-Based Marketing (ABM) programs. In this episode, Huddlers Charles Groome of Biz2Credit, Chip Rodgers of WorkSpan, and Grant Johnson of Billtrust lead the charge, sharing how they’ve brought ABM into their organizations and the difference it has made. 

Learn how to choose an ABM platform, how much time and how many people you may need, and what ABM success looks like.

What You’ll Learn 

  • How to ramp up an ABM program 
  • How to get to marketing-sourced revenue 
  • How to run a successful ABM program 

Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 352 on YouTube

Resources Mentioned 


  • [3:45] Charles Groome: 30 Under 30  
  • [5:17] Ramping up ABM at Biz2Credit  
  • [8:11] Narrowing your TAM  
  • [13:15] Chip Rodgers: 11 years of friendship  
  • [14:44] ABM at WorkSpan   
  • [16:12] More data, more fun   
  • [19:52] Helping close the deal  
  • [21:55] Grant Johnson: UC Santa Barbara   
  • [23:14] A 10-year ABM journey  
  • [25:02] Choosing & using an ABM platform   
  • [27:53] Getting to marketing-sourced revenue  
  • [32:05] On CMO Huddles  
  • [36:48] ABM + sales alignment  
  • [38:16] ABM danger zones   
  • [39:15] How much time, how many people?   
  • [41:21] What does ABM success look like?   
  • [43:52] Final words of wisdom: Adopting ABM   

Highlighted Quotes  

“We wanted to segment that market down and get much more precise about which of these companies are worth spending marketing dollars against.” —@CharlesGroome @Biz2Credit Click To Tweet

“ABM success is going to start with sales feedback. How do they feel? What's the gut check?” —@CharlesGroome @Biz2Credit Click To Tweet “Once you sign up, it takes about two months to define the activities, categorize them, then build and test the model. There's a lot of iteration before you can actually go live.” —@chiprodgers @WorkSpan Click To Tweet “If you're considering ABM and you're in the enterprise space, or even down market, if you're in B2B sales, it works.” —@chiprodgers @WorkSpan Click To Tweet “Within about 45 days, once they really adapted the tool and put it into practice, their results started improving.” —@grantejohnson1 @Billtrust Click To Tweet

“You really need one person in charge of the success or failure of ABM.” —@grantejohnson1 @Billtrust Click To Tweet 

Full Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Charles Groome, Chip Rodgers, & Grant Johnson


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 at 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 cmohuddles.com.

Now before we get to the episode, here’s a shout out to the professionals at Share Your Genius. We started working with him 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 shareyourgenius.com 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 with Charles Groome of Biz2Credit, Chip Rogers of WorkSpan, and Grant Johnson, then of Embers and now have BillTrust on account based marketing. So let’s dive in.

I’m your host, Drew Neisser, live from my home studio in New York City. On the list of things I’ve never heard CMOs say is, “Oh shoot, my budget is too large.” In truth, most marketers are budget challenged, forcing them to find the most efficient way to spend their dollars. It is in this pursuit that the term ABM or Account Based Marketing is most often mentioned, the big idea here is that instead of targeting a galaxy of prospects, you zero in on a subset of prospects that fit a specific criteria. And then depending on the technology you deploy, you have all sorts of ways to potentially engage and track these prospects all through their buying journey. But where does one start with ABM? And how do you know when it’s time to add another layer of technology? How do you make sure your sales team is actively participating in ABM from the beginning? So many questions. But lucky for you, we have three amazing marketers to help you sort out most of these questions, if not all of them.

Okay. With that, let’s bring on Charles Groome, VP of Marketing at Biz2Credit. Among his many accomplishments, Charles has the distinction of being the youngest marketing leader on this show, and was recently nominated for the Forbes 30 under 30. Welcome, Charles.

Charles Groome: Hey, Drew. Yeah, great to be with you.

Drew Neisser: One of the things I noticed in your bio is that you had more relevant internships than I think I’ve ever seen on any LinkedIn profile. Did you sleep in college?

Charles Groome: Well, definitely not as much as I should have. And actually, that’s why I’m wearing the glasses these days. So got some eyestrain from it. But I think yeah, even going back to college, I was just always really hungry and excited to be in front of customers doing the big things that we all do in the marketing world. And I loved, from the very beginning, I loved having that impact, seeing the impression volume and seeing what kind of effect you can have on people through media. So yeah, I did a whole range of things. I did internships from customer experience, I was taking customer service calls from my dorm room for a semester, I did product management, I was really fortunate actually to get certified as a scrum master early on while I was still in college. And then on the other side, I love creativity and media and actually, I ended up running the TV club at Boston College, which was kind of my passion project on the side. So yeah, everything left brain, right brain in marketing, it kind of all works together for me.

Drew Neisser: Amazing. So let’s switch gears and let’s get to the topic at hand. Can you talk about Biz2Credit and where ABM fits in to your marketing mix?

Charles Groome: Yeah, so ABM has been something I’ve been interested in for years. And really, from the time I jumped into the industry, in the B2B SaaS world, at Biz2Credit credit, we’re a FinTech company. We’re a small business financing provider. And we’ve actually got two sides to our business and ABM really fits into one side of our business specifically, which is our SaaS product Biz2x. And that’s a technology that we sell to bankers and financial institutions. And it helps them to actually provide loans to their small business customers. So this ABM strategy that we’re talking about today is a perfect fit, our total addressable market, there’s maybe 5000 banks in the US, we’re selling to committees, so we have to go and get the right people inside of these companies. It’s all enterprise sales so it’s a long sales cycles, ABM really is just kind of the perfect fit for that whole product of ours.

Drew Neisser: Interesting. And so we’ve got these 5000 Folks, that in theory, 5000 companies, and then 10 people per company. So it’s actually not as small list as you would think. And I seem to recall that you’re at the beginning of your journey. Can you talk about sort of the ramp up challenges, we now have established that they’re 5000 plus another 50,000 people that you want to somehow or other track and engage. Where are you in the journey? And how do you sort all that out?

Charles Groome: Yeah, so to be fair, we are in right at the beginning of our journey, we are pre-implementation on our ABM tech, if you will, just have gone through the vendor selection process for a pure play ABM solution. But I look at us as kind of in this hybrid role, because we’ve been running ABM as a strategy for years already. We launched Biz2x in 2019, brought it to market with a brand new branding and identity. And right about that time is when we really started to get specific. Our sales team and our marketing team sat down and said, “Let’s carve up this market. Let’s think about what are the best types of accounts that we want to go after.” And we really got specific and so I kind of say like on the ABM tech side, yes, we’re at the very beginning of our journey. But on the ABM strategy side, we’re actually pretty mature. I mean, we’ve been doing this for three plus years. Sales is on board, they’re heavily involved. We’re running some of these plays now. We’re introducing everything, both online and offline tactics in really trying to nurture these target accounts in our ABM picture. So it’s a little bit of a mishmash Drew it’s both and.

Drew Neisser: So let’s talk, when you say we’ve been doing it for a long time, and we have a strategy, talk about that. Because I think, words are important definitions are important. We talk a lot about that inCMO Huddles, it’s getting agreement of what these words mean. So what are we talking about when we say our ABM strategy?

Charles Groome: Yeah, so for us, it starts with that total universe. And then it’s a question of segmenting down into different groupings of that universe. So there’s a population of about 5000, maybe 6000, lending institutions in the United States that are issuing loans to small businesses. We looked at that as our total realistic addressable market for the Biz2x platform. But we were also realistic with ourselves, we don’t need to sell 100% of that market, especially not in year one, two, or three in order to meet our business goals. So what we wanted to do is figure out what are a couple of dimensions on which we can segment that market down and start to get much more precise about which of these companies are worth spending marketing dollars against. And then from there, it becomes about deployment into the channels where you have opportunity, whether that’s LinkedIn, which is a critical platform for most folks in the B2B world, other kinds of solutions that allow you to advertise on different DSP services start to come into play, but also what trade shows are we going to send the sales team to, and that comes into the fold as well. So for us, this strategy really is all about starting with, how do we narrow this audience down to a population that we can really go after in a meaningful, substantial way, and have some real success against. And then we want to be able to take that out into what results our sales team is actually seeing. So it stays somewhat fluid. For example, every single one of our account executives has a quarterly top 25 accounts that they are targeting and prospecting. And our marketing team responds in kind. And if they change their target 25, we change our target 25 to match.

Drew Neisser: So, and these target 25 for each of these salespeople have been defined by probably business size and length where they are in terms of traditional adoption of technology, and you just put a bunch of criteria. So we took it down from 5000 to a manageable number.

Charles Groome: Yeah, so like, for us, it’s like 150 at a time that we’re really, really ramped up and advertising through our quote unquote ABM tactics. And the sales people are rotating inside of that 150. So it will fluctuate over the course of the year, we might be reaching 350 accounts with some real serious ABM activities. And that’s really where we got to right before we decided to make the plunge and acquire the technology that’s now going to go and support this in a much more comprehensive way, rather than what we’ve done up until now, which is good old classical marketers, and salespeople getting in a spreadsheet, figuring it out and sharing it on OneDrive, for instance.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, there’s no doubt and our next guest actually, is totally into that, which we’ll get to. But I my guess my last question on this is or the observation is, you’ve spent a lot of time getting the strategy right before you adopted the technology. And I think that’s just an important observation for any of you thinking about this is the technology is great, and we’ll talk about that later in the show. But you need to have a plan, and you need to have agreement with Salesforce. And it seems like you have both of those things in place. Right, Charles?

Charles Groome: 100%, agree Drew, you’ve got to have sales bought into what you’re doing. It really helps if you can have your head of sales, come to the table and evaluate your ABM options with you and give his or her input into that process as well. And last thing, I gotta give a plug for CMO Huddles before I finished my remarks Drew because honestly, when it came right down to it, getting that third party experience from other marketers is really, really critical. And I got some great advice from folks that I’ve networked into with the CMO Huddles who said, take a look at this set of vendors. Maybe try and take a look at some technology that doesn’t advertise itself as ABM, but might really serve your needs. And as a result of that, we found kind of really nice best breeds position that I’m excited for us to take forward and start implementing it.

Drew Neisser: Perfect. We’ll come back to you, Charles, thank you for that plug. Awesome. Exactly what CMO Huddles is all about. We’re going to talk about CMO Huddles in a second. But I want to welcome Chip Rogers, who is the CMO of Workspan, star of episode 177 of Renegade Marketers Unite, and episode 10 of this show. Hello, Chip. How are you? And where are you today?

Chip Rodgers: Hey, Drew, I’m good. I’m actually I’m in the Bay Area, San Francisco Bay area. Yeah.

Drew Neisser: Awesome. Okay. Now, you and I met, it feels like a long time, 11 years ago, I think when you were running this huge community of users for SAP.

Chip Rodgers: 2 million members.

Drew Neisser: Yes. By the way, Chip is featured in my first book. Oh, look at that. Which chapter was it Chip?

Chip Rodgers: It’s on page 218.

Drew Neisser: All right. We have proof I don’t make this stuff up. Look at that. Building your community. Awesome. Okay. So I’m wondering, I’m thinking back 11 years, is there something you have learned that you wish you knew back then?

Chip Rodgers: Oh, gosh, the world has changed so much, quite a bit. I think even ABM, there were sort of rudimentary capabilities back in those days, but the technology has really just grown from it.

Drew Neisser: And I feel like it’s evolved where we all used to talk about having a hyper targeted marketing plan, but I think ABM, there’s a lot more to it than old school definition. So talk where you are on your ABM journey specifically sort of strategically.

Chip Rodgers: Yeah, we think of ABM in a couple of different ways. One is, and I would say this is the more sort of traditional kinds of things, where we’re working with accounts we’re trying to really build presence and get things to happen within specific accounts. So they could be named accounts where we’re trying to get traction. And we’re going after some of our ICPs within those accounts, and then it could also be expanded. So Workspan is a SaaS platform for helping companies cosell with their partners. And actually, we’re doing at with just last year we came out with the capabilities to cosell with hyperscalers. So Microsoft and now Google, it’s really tremendous opportunity. But we got to find these different partner programs within our existing customers. And it could also be new use cases. So there are a lot of expansion opportunities. And so that’s very specifically an ABM approach. And then the other side is the technology last year, we brought in Six Sense, which has been fantastic. The idea is that it’s a predictive analytics. So it looks at all of the things, the behavior that your people at different accounts have been over the years. And then it says, Okay, well, what accounts look like that now that have closed in the past. So let’s go focus on them, let’s prioritize activities on those because they have higher intent based on previous activities.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, I want to dig into that a little bit more to make sure that I can wrap my mind around it, because I always thought of 6Sense as being really strong with intent data, meaning that they can, based on either a third party or first party activity, help you identify people that may, in fact, be in the market or showing intent, right. But what you’re talking about is looking at past customers and say, this next customer is probably this and predicting who there be. So they’re not only helping you sort of engage with the people that you might have on your list, they’re helping you build the list.

Chip Rodgers: Yeah, and prioritize the list, right? Coming out of it is a 6QA score, it’s called, but it basically it scores, different accounts. And they actually have analytics that, say, of your current pipeline, which ones were in 6QA previously. And so you can see that you just like you show that to the sales team. And it’s like, you got a higher probability of turning this into a deal if you focus on these accounts instead of these accounts that that are not showing intent.

Drew Neisser: And let’s talk about that. Because one of the big things I remember in the few modules that I went through the training program, or certification program, for ABM really emphasize, this was on demand base, but really emphasize the need for getting sales involved at the beginning. So when you bring that or the system says, “Hey, this guy’s hot based on intent,” are sales folks now sort of responding in a way that says, oh, yeah, drop everything. Are they still sort of, in the mode of, I’m gonna go hunt and kill on my own.

Chip Rodgers: Brute force it right?

Drew Neisser: Yes, exactly.

Chip Rodgers: So a little bit of mixed, you know, a little bit of everything. So first of all, the BDRs are totally dialed into 6Sense. So they’re focusing there, and we help them right with sequences that are just really populated by accounts that are in 6QA, the BDRs are definitely focus there. AE’s, we sort of regularly try and remind them and do things like that we do training and enablement sessions. And I would say that the folks that are prospecting definitely are more involved and using it. We have some AEs that have existing accounts that are just they’re just basically farming in those accounts. And so they’re not so much so.

Drew Neisser: Right. So if I go back to the BDRs, and I get this, and my job is to set up a meeting, right. And the good news is, in theory without being creepy, they have enough information that says that this person is likely to be interested because they’ve demonstrated intent. So I gotta believe that it’s a more fun job than the time without that data, you get a lead that may or may not be one.

Chip Rodgers: So much more data these days. And you like you said, it’s first party and third party data. It’s how they’ve been acting with and interacting with some of our marketing activities of the website. But it’s also, where are they doing searches? Are they doing keyword searches on things that are relevant for us? And what’s interesting about the ABM is that you’re not just going after a single person, an MQL, right? It’s aggregating all of this behavior across an account. And an account shows intent when you start seeing multiple people, you see a group of people, like a number of people are all engaging and trying to figure something out. It’s like, okay, there must be some kind of a project going on there. They call it the dark tunnel, right? We don’t know about it, but something’s happening. And so the earlier, the better off you’re going to be .

Drew Neisser: You get smarter and smarter in theory about serving up the right information at the right time for those folks that are on the journey. But what occurs to me with all of this is it’s a very different mindset, in that we’ve talked about this in Huddles, that in some ways, a marketers job is to obviously get people interested in the product or service. But there’s also the capture the demand part, right. And where ABM sort of fits in a little bit of both of that, right, because it enables you to capture demand, because when six people of the 10 buying committee suddenly show up on your website, looking at the demo, or doing some other things, you know, they’re in the market. So at that moment in time, you really captured a man. And then there’s a bunch of other people who may come to a webinar or may check an article out, they’re really not in the market. They’re thinking about it, they might be later, even though they’re on your list, because they have the money but they’re not on your list, because necessarily they’re ready, they’re even interested in buying.

Chip Rodgers: The other thing we’ve done, and 6Sense of has two sides. One is the sales side, which we’ve just been talking about. But then the other side is the marketing side, which is okay, well, if these are target accounts and ICPs, then you’re able to run paid campaigns into those accounts with specific messages. So one of the things that we’ve done is, and there a lot of different plays that you can do with that, but one that we’ve done that was a lot of fun and successful is we had some big deals that were about to close, they were in sort of late stages, which means you’ve got a lot of buying committees they’re going to security, they’re going to finance, they’re going to IT, they’re going to all these different other groups. So we built some targeted campaigns just for that account for VPs and directors with those other titles that not normally our ICP, but like our let’s expand out into the buying group, to make sure that they’re aware of who Workspan is and that they know that we’re a known entity. And we get all the data from that as well like how many views how many clicks, all those things.

Drew Neisser: Amazing. I’m really glad you shared that story. I have more things I want to circle back on. But we’ve got to keep moving. I’ll come back because I do want to talk about partnerships. And I also love this idea of late deal helping to close okay, but we’re gonna go on and welcome Grant Johnson, who is the CMO of Embers and star of episodes 249 and 287 of Renegade Marketers Unite, frequent guest on this show. Hello, Grant. Welcome back.

Grant Johnson: Hey, Drew, great to be here. Happy to join you today.

Drew Neisser: Thank you. Well, by the way, where are you on this find late summer day?

Grant Johnson: While I’m in paradise, of course, I’m in Southern California, perfect tennis weather. And you know, I like that. And it’s high 70. So there’s no complaints.

Drew Neisser: We’re gonna have to get on the tennis court when I come out there. Perfect. Now, speaking of Southern California, semi Southern California, I noticed you got your BA at UC Santa Barbara, which is one of the few universities in the world that has its own beach, or at least it’s right on a beach. Growing up in Southern California, I visited there when I was in high school. And of course the thing I remember, besides playing volleyball on the beach during a leadership camp, was getting tar on my feet. So that must have been really hard in college to get tar on your feet. It was a hard experience.

Grant Johnson: Yeah, no distractions whatsoever at UC Santa Barbara and then I did my graduate work at Pepperdine. So I guess I like something near the beach.

Drew Neisser: All right. Well, anyway, good times. Yes, indeed, Southern California. Let’s talk about your ABM journey, what your strategy is what’s going on there.

Grant Johnson: I actually started the ABM journey, literally 10 years ago. And I just have to put in context. And you and I met about that time, I was CMO of a company called PegaSystems. And we had target account marketing, we didn’t call it ABM, then we didn’t have a tech stack to enable it like your first two guests have been talking about and obviously I can share as well. But it’s been great to have picked a tool and to really for us, the key thing yet a couple other guests talked about it earlier, in Charles and Chip, and really had to get alignment. I mean, there was no way we’re gonna go implement a platform that we’ve done without BDR, sales 100% in line with us. And so we have that we actually rolled it out at kickoff, and trained everybody which was in January of this year. And the way I describe where we are in the journey is we noticed early on that one of the regional VPs, let’s just say we have East Enterprise and we have West Enterprise, just jumped in got he and his team trained, was utilizing a tool given us feedback, and the other wasn’t. And guess what, their numbers weren’t looking quite as good. So the CRO my peer, my buddy said, “Hey, time to get with the program.: And sure enough, within about 30-45 days, once they really adopted the tool, put it into practice, their results started improving. So I’m clearly a believer.

Drew Neisser: And it’s so interesting, I sort of remember that from the thing is sometimes when you’re adopting ABM and you’re getting a little sales resistance, find the one sales person that will execute with you and go all in and when their numbers start to look good, they’ll go, “Wait, how did you do that?” And suddenly everybody goes that side of the book is looking pretty good. So I think you’re using Demandbase, and talk about what that does for you.

Grant Johnson: Well, for us, we have been using Intent for I’ve been here about three years at Enbers as the CMO. And that’s been helping us and many other companies, because as you said, you got to pick the right particular technology that fits within your stack that you can implement, you’ve got somebody who can operate and tweak. And so you know, that was pretty important. But for us, we had have good integration with Salesforce, we actually also have an integrated with SalesLoft that we use, and with Marketo. And if somebody reaches, we were talking about score to counselor, they reach our magic number of 100 doesn’t know what your number is, it’s a buying group, you can have a couple of people do something or one person request a demo, you can get what we call a marketing qualified account auto scored. But it really helps when the entire team is looking at the same set of data. And we’ve coordinated the action. So marketing, can provide insight that sets off a BDR trigger or the BDR could provide insight that sets off a sales trigger and so it helps us work together more effectively.

Drew Neisser: I had a chance to look under the hood of a couple of these platforms and it feels like you could get in there and spend a hours sort of, “Look there some somebody just clicked on that or somebody clicked on that.” What’s the big picture from a CMO standpoint, that you’ve learned to make sure you’re paying attention to the right things and don’t get down into the weeds of this?

Grant Johnson: It’s a great question, Drew. And I had the same feeling. I did another tour with my single threaded owner, one of my VPs, I call it an STL single turnover, who oversees across all these functional areas to make sure it’s work. But I could see you could just get lost. There’s so much configurability and granularity in Demandbase among others that you could lose the forest for the trees, I take the step back, and we all align on our shared responsibility to deliver pipeline that can translate the booking. And so we report on like a lot of other CMOs, a lot of KPIs. And it’s not only marketing source pipeline, but marketing source revenue, right. And so we want to make sure that the tactics, the strategy, the procedure, the tactics are all to the prioritize folks that we have my small business, mid market, corporate, we call it enterprise, and that we’re driving the right type of focus actions and activities that produce results. And so we’ll compare team to team, we’ll compare month to month, year to year, and we get this data that tells us, hey, are we doing the right thing, because like you said, you could go down the rat hole and infinitely optimize and not get a better result. To us, it’s about driving more pipeline that sales can close faster. So volume velocity for a higher value and value so we can make or exceed our bookings targets.

Drew Neisser: I want to put a pin on marketing source revenue. Because if I did a survey of the CMOs of CMO Huddles, I’m not sure that half of them could actually come up with that number. It’s not an easy number. There’s all sorts of attribution questions. And there’s who’s taking credit for the lead and sales force? And I’m just curious, can we just stop for a second and how do you get to market? How are you confident and marketing source revenue number?

Grant Johnson: We tagged with lead source Salesforce with a visible part of our tech stack and so we do multi source attribution. At the end of the day, you’re right, there are some that are mistagged, but the general direction is never question the general data. Because if it’s 5% noise, why have a 95% argument over 5%? So I may be contributing, let’s just say 50% of revenue, and maybe it’s 45 is 50. But it’s not 20 and it’s not 80. Right? And so I think that’s how we overcome the argument. We actually had a discussion, like I had this other stops where we were talking over attribution. Fortunately, my CEO Eric Fraser just said, “Look, marketing touches everything. So like, let’s start coming up on precise attribution. But we have to contribute nd together we have to meet the target.” So that’s we work on, we have monthly pipeline reviews, like I’m sure a lot of my peers do, and work with various contributors and stakeholders, what can we do better? What are the gaps? How do we address those? And that helps us drive the right behaviors.

Drew Neisser: The reason why in my mind, marketing source revenue is so important is you can stand in front of a CEO and CFO and they’ll get it or a board of directors or your venture capital or PE firms, they will get that number and nod their head and say that marketing is working. You can talk about brand all day long. And even though as a marketer, we know that just driving demand is yes, that is part of it. But there’s a lot more to the role. As your CEO says, marketing touches everything. All right before we sort of break for a second I want to ask, is there something that’s working really well for you on the ABM front? Chip mentioned, and I thought this was fascinating, he mentioned that they’re running ads against companies that are close to a deal closing, which I thought that makes sense.

Grant Johnson: Yeah, for our highest strategic counsel, we’ve done some of the one to one, we do more one to few or one to many tactics, I would just say that the insights as we’ve talked about intent about the relative activity level, because we you can do a journey map that shows marketing touches sales, such as with Demandbase, and I’m sure other tools have something similar. And it helps both the BDRs and the sales teams. The sales teams work with BDR say, I think Chip mentioned it, “Let’s go focus here, focus anywhere.” In fact, I was talking to our VP who runs the BDRs, the other day, and he said, “Look, we’re just going to totally prioritize super responsiveness to an auto scored MQA. If this person wants to demo. It’s great that other people are doing things that are adding to the buying group. And maybe I should nurture them or do an outreach sequence but boy, if they’re that far into the interest level. Let’s go after those.” So I think having that insight by sales team by segment, because we go to market knowledge by segment by verticals by buyer, because we have different personas, and said, “Hey unless more buyers involved from this company.” And so we use that data to help fine tune focus, and effort so we can get the best return. That’s the part that’s working the well there’s no one silver bullet, that suddenly it’s easy to source and close deals, I wish there were, at least we have more insight so we can make more informed decisions on where to focus and how to drive better outcomes.

Drew Neisser: And it’s so interesting, as you are talking, I’m remembering I interviewed John Miller more than 10 years ago, when he was at Marketo. And it was the early days of Marketo. And what he talked about at that moment was using Marketo, you will be able to see when someone clicks on a demo or the pricing page they are like 50 times more likely to be a real prospect than anybody else. And I never forgot that and in many ways this is just the tech evolution of that same notion. And in some ways, it’s so much more sophisticated than it was 11 or 12 years ago.

All right. We’re gonna take a second where I am going to talk about CMO Huddles, which has already come up a couple times, funny that. Launched in 2020, CMO Huddles is an exclusive community of over 100 highly effective B2B CMOs who share, care, and dare each other to greatness. And I was thinking about greatness the other day, and what we’re talking about is being an effective marketer, yes, but also being a great leader. And we talked about that as well. Everything about CMO Huddles is designed to be a force multiplier, helping you to make faster, better, and more informed decisions. Where one inspiring hour a month delivers 10 hours a perspiration save. Since no CMO can out work their jobs, CMO Huddles is here to help you outsmart it. Now we just happen to have three Huddlers here, Charles, Chip, and Grant. And I’m wondering if you all would mind and Charles, you did this already, but share a specific example of how CMO Huddles might have helped you make a decision or be a more effective CMO.

Chip Rodgers: I’ll share actually since we’re on this ABM topic, it was actually like a year and a half ago, we were just starting to think about investing in an ABM solution and I brought it actually in a Huddle. And I think a couple other people raise their hand. Yeah, you know, I’d like to, and I think maybe you’d heard it before Drew and Drew, you’re like, “I think we did a special Huddle on ABM technology.” And it was well attended and it was really insightful and actually had someone that was presenting and talking about it. And I had a separate call with them afterwards and really got just sort of firsthand knowledge from other CMOs on what works, what doesn’t work and all that.

Drew Neisser: So amazing. It was a demo. Right? It was a demo that one of the CMOs shared, we got to see behind the hood, which is very cool. Okay, it’s Charles.

Charles Groome: Yeah, I shared a little bit but I can get into more specifics, really on the ABM tech front, we leaned heavily on other CMOs, I’ve heard that the Chip and Grant are using 6sense and Demandbase. We got recommendations to both of those platforms got some good inside baseball on what those platforms do and don’t do. We actually got some referrals from, I had a whole meeting with a fellow chief marketer, who said, “You know what, I know you’re looking kind of from the ground up, you’ve got some strategy in place, I would even consider, forget about going with one of the big boy traditional ABM platforms. And what if you just fill the gap of nurturing those accounts that are already sort of in the middle of funnel?” I think Chip, you might have been making a similar point on that one. And there’s a tool that he recommended to me that was right in line with that during our one on one conversation, it’s called Influ2 kind of cutting edge on the very, very cutting edge of going beyond cookies and so forth, in reaching out to individuals. So they’ve got sort of a predictive model that says that they can reach individual decision makers in a buying committee. So those kinds of bits of advice, I think we would not have been in the position that we’ve been in to make the kind of decision we only did about ABM tech, if it wasn’t for CMOs sharing and caring, like you say, Drew.

Drew Neisser: Awesome. Thank you. Well, Grant, I know we’ve had you on the show. You’ve weighed in before, I don’t know if you have anything to add in this scenario.

Grant Johnson: Yeah, I would kind of use my research and mantra about, “Only invest in the research, if you’re going to take advantage of it.” You only asked a CMO to spend an hour a month, but I’ve gotten so much more value out of not just attending the hour a month. But as I listen to my peers, what are they doing? what’s working, what’s working better than what’s working for us? Let’s dig into that. And so I’ll set up conversations afterwards. Obviously, CMO Huddles will facilitate, “Hey, I’m looking to do a digital close on my website who’s done that so we can do touch free sales?” And so I think all the value add is, you know, if you can commit to taking advantage of it, you’re gonna get a lot more out of it.

Drew Neisser: Love it. Love it. All right.

Chip Rodgers: I’ll just I’ll just throw one other quick thing in which is phenomenal is that every Huddle, you do a recap of all the comments, and you anonymize it right one CMO said blah, blah, blah. And those right on an email and in Slack. And I, I go back, like I save them all. And I go back and look at them when there’s a new topic that’s coming up, I’m like I think there was something a few months ago about that and then I’ll look at what happened. Really hugely valuable.

Drew Neisser: Love it. Thank you for that. Thank you all for those kind words. And we’ve talked a little bit about sales alignment. And Grant, you mentioned that you got one sales person going and rocking. Is there anything else that the folks that are listening that are sort of working their way through ABM should be thinking about in terms of sales alignment? Anybody want to grab that one?

Charles Groome: I can just say from my perspective, that having the head of sales be that person who’s championing strategy is a really great way to go and build the business case for bringing in the technology side of things. Because like we saw, in our experience, we were doing ABM. But we weren’t really supporting it with technology and dedicated solutions until I was able to have that conversation at sort of the peer to peer level across marketing and sales and say, we really should be investing in it because you want more of these leads. We see how the results are working. And so we should both jointly make the business case, not just leave it up to the marketing team to go and carry that water ourselves. From my vantage point Drew that can definitely be helpful, especially if you’re starting in the place where I was where you’re kind of doing ABM, XL version art.

Drew Neisser: Yeah. But I feel that pain as in certainly the Huddles team feels that pain not having a ABM tool to help. We are in the XL version. So I’m wondering, are there any landmines to avoid when it comes to ABM, Grant, you’ve been doing this a while what in your mind are the warning signs, the danger zones?

Grant Johnson: Yeah, for me, integration, I think is key. I think a lot of us CMOs, there’s no lack of tools, a lot of them are table stakes. But this is one of those game changers, with ABM that you want to get it right. And you need to make sure that you’ve got enough time, the dollars for implementation, testing it, wring out the system, confirm it doesn’t break something else. None of this stuff is as easy as all vendors may claim it to be. So I think making sure you have that. And then you have checkpoints along the way, you don’t set any of these things on autopilot. Not to say some technologies in the martech stack can’t pretty much run themselves once implemented. But this is one that you really want to have a lot of care and feed into make sure sales, marketing, BDRs are all getting the most value out of it.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, all of those things. ring true to me. I’m curious, and maybe Chip, you can weigh in on this, how many people in terms of, we’ll call them martech professional people in your marketing ops team need to be sort of paying attention and looking at the ABM tool, how many do you need to use to make sure, since you can’t run it on autopilot?

Chip Rodgers: So I’ll answer that question. But also just on the question of time, I think anyone that’s going to make the investment be prepared that it takes like once you sign up, I think it takes about two months to sort of understand, do all the coding, define what all the activities are, categorize them and then build the model And then test the model. And there’s a lot of that sort of iteration before you can actually go live.

Drew Neisser: I feels like two months is fast, by the way.

Chip Rodgers: Yeah, it was like we were itching to go or like can you just start it right now.

Drew Neisser: Okay. The question was, how many people did it take working on it?

Chip Rodgers: We’re actually running it pretty lean, we have three, we have one sort of ops person who’s actually a contract person, and then the head of demand gen and the head of BDRs.

Drew Neisser: So not that many. But I think the thing that’s important with all these things, when you adopt a technology, not all technologies replace jobs, they in fact, require people to help you make the most of this. So now, one of the things that I heard, ultimately, in all of this is that there are opportunities out there, and it’s really important to act quickly and decisively and not letting opportunity slip away. Which is why when we asked the question, what would Ben Franklin say, he would say, “Take time by the forelock.” And if case you’re wondering what that literally means, it means grabbing time, like the hairs on the head of a horse and pulling it with you, think carpe diem. And I think that’s a fair interpretation of what we’re talking about because it really is someone who’s come to your website, someone’s exhibited the signs of a buyer, you want to make sure that you’re really on top of them. So when you think about this, Charles, at the beginning of your journey, you’ve got Grant and Chip, Chip has been doing it a year or two, Grants been doing it longer. What does success look like for you, in your ABM program, Charles?

Charles Groome: Yeah, I mean, success is going to start with sales feedback. And that’s the baddest old school answer you can probably give right? Is just, how do they feel? What’s the gut check? But I think it is going to start there because we’ve had this partnership in bringing ABM technology into the company. And then from there pretty quickly, I think we’re gonna look at the metrics, like the target accounts that we are having engagements with, and what those engagement rates look like. And in a perfect long term scenario, obviously, we’ve got an inbound as well as our ABM kind of dynamic going on here. I’d love to start to see crossover pipeline built between the two so that either we’re able to generate inbound activity from accounts that were going out and prospecting outbound, or even vice versa, where we might identify through inbound channels, we might identify some of our new ABM prospects, and then go and sort of expand our reach in the buying community as a consequence of that first inquiry or that first ebook engagement or what have you. So I think for us, it’s going to start a little bit holistic and gut checking. And then ultimately, it’s going to end with what’s the pipeline that we’re influencing.

Drew Neisser: Chip or Grant in terms of the evolved for you, Grant we mentioned already KPI like a marketing driven revenue, but what’s, from an ABM standpoint, what does success look like to you or you want to add, Grant, to Charles’s answer?

Grant Johnson: Pipeline.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, pipeline.

Grant Johnson: Pipelines. Yeah. For making our target. There you go. The shortest answer, though. That was good.

Drew Neisser: And so, again, I think it’s profound and be thinking about happiness is, your sales people saying “Damn, we did it, you made it easier.” We made our numbers thanks to this program and plus all their great salesmanship. Which is interesting. Okay, we want to go around final words of wisdom for CMOs, about to embark on the ABM journey. If you want, it could be two do’s and don’ts. It could be just three thoughts on how to do it, I’m going to do it in reverse order. We’ll start with Grant.

Grant Johnson: You really need one person in charge of the success or failure. And as we talked about earlier, we also did it two months, and I remember my head of revenue marketing saying, “Hey, can we squeeze this thing into Q4? It’s kind of crazy, I know, but if we do that, we can launch announce and train at kickoff.” I’ve said let’s do it. And so it was a 60 day march, Chip, you’ve probably experienced something similar. But you know, there was a lot of things that didn’t go well in trying to get that in such a tight timeframe. But having one person responsible cross functionally, made sure BDRs are on board, sales were on board, tech was on board, Ops is on board, integration was on board, ITs, that’s really what enabled us to have a successful implementation we sustained this year.

Drew Neisser: Got it. So you had a deadline. You had a way of announcing and even though it was not exactly perfect, you got it up and running because you had all of the right people at the table. Okay, Chip. Other final words of wisdom.

Chip Rodgers: I would just say it’s worth it, if you’re considering ABM and you’re in the enterprise space or even down market if you’re in B2B sales, and it worked.

Drew Neisser: And when you say it’s worth it, you’re also saying, not just an ABM strategy, but having adopting a technology like a 6Sense or Demandbase to help you implement it.

Chip Rodgers: Yes, right.

Drew Neisser: Got it. Okay, Charles, final words of wisdom.

Charles Groome: Probably premature for me to say definitively that it’s worth it, but I love the answer, because that’s how I feel. I feel like we’re finally getting our shoes on and walking out the door with ABM here. I’ll close kind of with the theme I’ve been harping on a little bit in my comments throughout the session Drew which is, just get partnered with sales from the get go, you can easily translate what you’ve been working on in your XL ABM strategy into the tools when you get there. So just don’t worry about getting started with something and then figuring out how to really make it more sophisticated when it gets to that level. And I think for a lot of marketers who are thinking about this, that that becomes the hurdle is like the tools all take a lot of capital or at least some upfront investment, whether it’s personnel or cost wise, but you don’t have to wait for that just to be able to get started with ABM.

Drew Neisser: Exactly. It’s a strategy first. Perfect, Charles. Thank you, Charles, Chip, Grant. You’re all great sports and super knowledgeable. Thank you, audience for staying with us. To hear more conversations like this one and submit your own questions while we’re live join us on the next CMO Huddle Studio. We stream to my LinkedIn profile that’s, Drew Neisser, every other week. 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 partner Share Your Genius. The music is by the amazing Burns Twins and the intro VoiceOver 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 renegade.com I’m your host, Drew Neisser. And until next time, keep those renegade thinking caps on and strong.

Exactly. It’s a strategy first. Perfect, Charles. Thank you, Charles chip grant. You’re all great sports and super knowledgeable. Thank you, audience for staying with us

If you’re a B2B CMO, and you want to hear more conversations like this one, find out if you qualify to join our community of sharing, caring, and daring CMOs at cmohuddles.com.

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 renegade.com. I’m your host, Drew Neisser. And until next time, keep those Renegade thinking caps on and strong!