In 2017, we ran our very first ABM campaign that included display, direct mail, and email outreach. The ABM campaign ended up having a close rate of 41%.
How did we get there? This post will take you behind-the-scenes.
*Note: This campaign was run under the AdRoll brand using RollWorks (a division of the AdRoll Group).
The ABM Campaign Setup
In 2017, we took a deep dive into our customer acquisition paths and found that outbound opportunities that had a marketing touch were 2x more likely to close than outbound deals that did not have a marketing touch (7% close rate vs. 3%).
In other words, when a deal that was already being worked by sales was intercepted by marketing (via content, an event, direct mail, etc.), it was far more likely to close, or cross the “goal line.” Armed with this information, we designed a multichannel ABM campaign, lovingly referred to as “Project Goal Line.”
At the time, our sales team did not exclusively work a target account list, but that didn’t stop us from taking an account-based approach. Instead of leveraging a fixed list, we established a predictive score threshold that an account needed to meet in order to qualify for Project Goal Line. Our sales development reps (SDRs) were assigned to work accounts on behalf of senior sellers and also owned and worked their own accounts; as long as the account was deemed “worthy” by the predictive score, it was included in the program.
Objectives of the ABM campaign
Project Goal Line addressed the four major pain points that we identified based on feedback from sales and historical data trends:
Here’s how we built out the campaign:
STEP 0: Mapping the sales and marketing stages
A foundational exercise before launching the ABM campaign was to map the four major sales stages in Salesforce (Hunting, Negotiation, Pre-Launch, and Live/Closed-Won) to our marketing lifecycle stages in Marketo (Nurture, Selection, Activation, Live/Closed-Won). This allowed us to sync our marketing messaging with where the prospect was in the sales funnel using our platform’s bidirectional Marketo data connector (the same can be done using HubSpot).
STEP 1: Getting SDRs in the door
The first step in our ABM strategy was to get conversations started with the SDR team’s most sought-after prospects. As marketers who receive several SDR-generated emails each day, we know how difficult it is to cut through the noise and get someone’s attention. Thus, for this ABM campaign we married SDR emails with display ads, individual landing pages, and a direct mail piece in an effort to make a big impression.
Display ads for “air cover”
As soon as an SDR began to work an account, we began serving ads as a way to introduce ourselves. We used the aforementioned Marketo connector to serve ads with introductory upper-funnel messaging only to the specific contacts within the target account.
Outreach emails, landing pages, and retargeting
To make that big first impression, we then added some personalized touches. We created a landing page and individual display ads for each SDR that included their photo. Each email the SDR sent included a link to their personalized page:
After clicking on the link and visiting the landing page, the prospect was retargeted across multiple networks and devices with matching display ads. We increased our bids and frequency for a 24-hour period to ensure that the prospect saw the SDR everywhere. If the prospect clicked the ad, they were taken to a personalized landing page where they could schedule a meeting.
Door Opener direct mail
Along with the landing pages and display ads, we also mailed a Door Opener Kit designed to get the conversation going. This kit included a note from the SDR and a book of customer-use cases to showcase how others have used AdRoll to “build better campaigns.”
STEP 2: Nurturing accounts post-meeting
In a typical demand-gen model, this is where Marketing would stop and celebrate their lead-gen wins. But, because we’re using account-based marketing, we could stretch our marketing reach much farther down the sales funnel.
Specifically, we wanted to help keep the momentum going after an initial appointment with a prospect. It’s very common to experience difficulties in this stage of the funnel where deals can stall because of a lack of urgency, and, historically, sellers haven’t had a scalable way to push the conversation forward.
Post-meeting direct mail
We combated this by sending a Post-Meeting Kit within days of a high-quality appointment. The kit included a note from the seller along with a poster that showed how our platform can help them to “build better campaigns” with a full-funnel approach.
Personalized ads that impressed
We also leveraged our ABM platform’s personalized ads to ensure we stayed top of mind. These ABM ads pulled the company name into the ad unit itself, ensuring that we grabbed their attention. We saw immediate results here, as our CPA decreased by 42% with these targeted ads (compared to a test group that saw non-company-specific ads).
STEP 3: Getting prospects “over the line”
Sales had asked for our help pushing stalled prospects from Pre-Launch to Live/Closed-Won. There were numerous reasons why an opportunity would be “stuck,” so we needed to speak directly to how easy it was to get started and show how our current customers had seen success with our platform (creating a bit of FOMO, if you will).
The final push: direct mail
If a prospect had not progressed in over 35 days, we triggered an Over-the-Line Kit. This kit included…
Up to this point we’ve covered just half the ABM campaign. We’ll post the rest of the campaign in part-2 soon, but if you’d like to read the rest of it now you can see it in our Big Book of ABM Campaigns where the full campaign is published.
The Big Book of ABM Campaigns was co-written with Bizible, Datanyze, LiveRamp, and Radius and includes 4 more ABM campaigns that each company actually ran, along with pictures and lessons learned.