December 18, 2018 | Jon Miller | No Comments |

There’s never been a more exciting time to be in B2B marketing. Never have we had this much access to data, never have we had this advanced technology at our fingertips, and never have we had this strong of a presence at the revenue table. And yet, with all the benefits, the marketing discipline also faces smarter and more demanding buyers, larger growth goals and more competition. We continue to hear how few marketing blueprints exist to help resource-strapped teams achieve their goals. And an ABM blueprint? Well, that is even harder to come by.

That’s why I wrote the Clear and Complete Guide to Account Based Marketing, 2nd Edition with the marketing team at Engagio. This is your ABM blueprint for creating a world-class ABM program. With over 170 pages and 70% new content, this guide contains the latest and greatest best practices for ABM.

In this blog post, I want to focus on one of the most fundamental pieces of becoming account-based before you can implement an ABM program: redefining your funnel and rethinking the customer journey.

Balancing Demand Gen and Account Based Marketing

One of the first questions we get from teams looking to go from traditional demand gen to ABM is “how do I balance the two strategies?”

There’s no hard and fast rule about what percentage of your programs should be dedicated to ABM versus demand generation. Instead, think of it as a spectrum. On one end are companies selling to the Fortune 100. The vast majority of their efforts will focus on ABM. On the other end are companies selling into the SMB market. The majority of their efforts will focus on demand generation. Most likely, you’re somewhere in the middle, so you’ll want to balance the two strategies.

In fact, 64.9% of companies are currently using a mix of ABM and traditional demand generation programs — 27.0% use demand generation only, and 8.1% use ABM only (Engagio ABM Outlook Survey 2018).

In an effort to guide you in ABM blueprint terms, ABM tends to work best in the following situations:

  • Teams sell to high-value accounts, especially deals over $50,000
  • Sales cycles last months instead of days
  • Growth within an account is seen as a business driver, such as renewals, upsells, or cross-sells into different departments
  • The team markets and sells to buying centers, not just to one individual

New Strategies, New Metrics

With this new strategy, we need new metrics. Traditional marketing funnel metrics focus almost exclusively on new business. However, deepening relationships with existing customers is a major part of our ABM blueprint. With more technology and responsibility than ever before, B2B marketers are becoming empowered to influence and own more of the revenue number. After all, sales couldn’t do what they do as easily if it weren’t for us marketers.

That’s why Account Based Marketers are focusing more on upsell and cross-sell tactics. This was highlighted recently by LeadMD CEO, Justin Gray, and our CMO, Heidi Bullock.


Caption: The bow-tie: ABM focuses on existing customer success and expansion just as much as, if not more then, new customer acquisition.

As a result, your traditional “marketing funnel” begins to look more like a bow-tie. And, as a good marketer, you know we need metrics to track the progress and success of the right side of the funnel as well. Some metrics we should consider are:

  • Advocacy
  • Referrals
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Net promoter scores

We can’t get into all the details of how to execute ABM, but you can download our Clear and Complete Guide to Account Based Marketing for insights into the best campaigns for each stage of the funnel.

The ABM Blueprint for a New Customer Journey

Now, let’s walk through how to think about your new customer journey. But first, we must define some important concepts on the right side of the bow-tie: expansion (i.e., upselling and cross-selling).

What is upselling?

Upselling is a sales strategy to get customers to increase spending by offering more or better versions of your product.

Think: “Would you like to supersize that?

What is cross-selling?

Cross-selling is a strategy to get customers to increase spending by offering them products that are complementary to something they’ve just bought.

Think: “Would you like fries with that?

Now, it’s time for you to start building your bow-tie funnel. When doing so, keep these ABM blueprint factors in mind:

  1. Gain Marketing and Sales alignment on stage definitions
  2. Use the funnel to measure and optimize results
  3. Change stage definitions as you learn. No model is perfect.
  4. Be careful of stages where accounts can get “stuck”
  5. Create “service-level agreements” that specify how long an account can stay in any given stage
  6. Do not build funnels that focus on handoffs between siloed departments. ABM orchestration ensures departments work together at every journey stage to create harmonious experiences for target accounts.

An idea whose time has come

Winning major deals in B2B markets is never going to be easy: You’re selling complex solutions into big organizations. No single person can simply pull the trigger on a deal without consulting an interconnected matrix of people, each with his or her own perspectives, problems and prejudices.

But now, you can take concrete, measurable steps that dramatically increase your chances of winning the biggest, most attractive deals in your market. This is absolutely your ABM blueprint for success.

If you want to learn more, download Engagio’s Clear and Complete Guide to Account Based Marketing 2nd Edition now. It incorporates everything we’ve learned over the last three years about ABM. Working with hundreds of companies that range in size and industry on ABM initiatives, we have us invaluable lessons and insight into what is effective.

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