How NS1 built an ABM program that drove 69X increase in new pipeline creation in just 5 months

Case Study Overview

The customer

NS1 builds the world's most intelligent DNS, traffic management, and application delivery technologies, enabling its customers to take unparalleled control over their traffic and infrastructure.

The challenge

With more traditional marketing tactics (like direct mail) falling short of creating the required ROI in incremental pipeline, the NS1 marketing team decided to pivot to a digital-first marketing mix optimized by an account-based strategy. 

The payoff

In five months, the marketing team at NS1 saw:

69x increase in new pipeline creation 

3x increase in ROI influenced revenue 

498% lift in unique visitors from target accounts 

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How NS1 built an ABM program that drove 69X increase on new pipeline creation in just 5 months

The customer

The Demand Gen team: Ready to Enhance their ABM 

The goal of NS1’s demand gen team was to accelerate growth with their ABM programs. “We were confident that ABM would allow us to measure influence at the pipeline and revenue level,” said senior director of growth and analytics Jess Bahr. “So we had to build new marketing campaigns as soon as possible in order to achieve these targets alongside our sales teams.” 

The challenge

How to influence pipeline 

Capturing the attention of highly technical audiences can prove challenging for marketers. Known (and loved) for being a particularly pragmatic persona driven by efficiency, traditional channels - like broad direct mail- can fall short in favor of more optimized channels like digital. In 2019, NS1 expanded their product offering to cover not just DNS but the entire DDI (DNS, DHCP, and IPAM). Accompanying the launch of a new product was an organizational restructuring, which saw the sales department split into two separate entities. Unlike other groups however, the marketing team remained untouched and thus had the challenge of figuring out how to serve two sales teams focused on entirely different lines of business. The team decided not only to alter their overall marketing mix to focus more on digital, but- more fundamentally- to adopt an account-based strategy to deliver persona-specific content directly to targeted accounts.

"Our goal is to serve the right content to the right people at the right time to not just drive new pipeline, but positively influence existing pipeline. Using persona-specific targeting, we're able to ensure we're reaching the right people at the right accounts, at the right time." said Jess. 

The solution

Serving specific ads based on company and persona-specific pain points 

That's when NS1 turned to the RollWorks account-based platform. The marketing team was attracted by the platform’s ability to implement an entire ABM program: identifying target accounts, engaging them, and measuring campaign impact.

The team’s first step was to use the RollWorks account-based platform to expand their target account list (TAL). Alongside sales, they determined their high priority accounts were 13,000+ employee B2B accounts with certain specific characteristics that other platforms are not able to take into consideration, from key verticals -- resulting in a target account list of about 11,000 companies.

Before deploying at scale, the team wanted to validate their target account list and make sure they weren’t missing any high-value accounts. Second, they needed to engage the key decision makers within those accounts in order to create more pipeline.

Using the RollWorks Identification Solution, the team updated their target account list, discovering new accounts that would likely be interested in their products. Analyzing their current customers' firmographic and technographic attributes, RollWorks surfaced nearly 10,000 target accounts likely to become NS1 customers, outside of their target account list generated by sales.

Next, the team needed a way to deliver highly-personalized digital ads that would engage key decision makers. They wanted to tailor their marketing to speak to the specific pain points of different personas and industries.

Connecting their Salesforce instance to their RollWorks account enabled a bidirectional sync of data, allowing them to import open opportunities and prospects.

Using the RollWorks Engagement Solution, they were able to set up a series of personalized digital ad campaigns based on company, persona-specific pain points, sales stage, and more. The RollWorks Account data foundation and machine-learning technology ensured all campaigns were reaching the right decision makers at the right accounts.

Jess and the RollWorks design team produced creative that increased brand awareness, sparked engagement, and nurtured opportunities to close. Said Jess, “Through this process, we learned some key lessons about what creative will likely perform best. First, speak like a person and avoid jargon or buzzwords. Second, be authentic and stay true to the personality of your brand. And finally, be specific and clearly articulate what the reader will get if they click.” 

The payoff
In 5 months, NS1 saw 69x in new influenced pipeline 

With the RollWorks Measurement Solution Jess and her team were able to show a 498% lift in unique visitors from target accounts, 69x growth in new pipeline creation, and over 3x ROI in influenced revenue.

“I was blown away by how my account manager was able to provide me the exact reporting we needed. The sales team was able to see in Salesforce which accounts appeared the most interested and prioritized their time working those accounts.”

And with the Salesforce integration, Jess no longer has to pull manual reports for the marketing and sales teams. They can see account- and contact-level campaign results directly in their Salesforce instance.

“We are a very data-driven organization and it’s critical to have a robust reporting platform that will provide you with crucial insights into what content they’ve downloaded, campaigns that are getting leads to convert, and what ads they’ve clicked on” said Jess. “So, that’s been huge, turning data into actionable insight and showing marketing’s impact to driving pipeline deals.”  

Leveraging Account Intent to prioritize the right accounts for marketing outreach 

NS1 has recently started leveraging Account Intent within the RollWorks’ Identification Solution to identify accounts that are showing a strong interest in their products through content consumption on the B2B web but are not yet engaging with their business.

“Analyzing intent signals across many data and content sources of nearly 8000 accounts we were able to surface nearly 3200 target accounts that were showing a surge in intent on topics related to our business,” said Jess.” This is helping us know where to spend the majority of our marketing dollars. We are hoping to shorten the nurture cycle by engaging those surging accounts through targeted digital advertising.” After only 4 weeks, Jess is getting results she was after. She’s seeing a 25% higher CTR, a 29% decrease in CPC, and more than 3x website engagement in terms of unique visitors, engaged visitors, and page views for accounts demonstrating intent.

“RollWorks has one of the most powerful targeting platforms providing me with the tools I need to execute the exact campaigns I need,” she continued. “RollWorks offers account management and creative services — this consultative approach makes them an ABM partner, not just an ABM vendor.” 

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