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Just like your favorite cocktail, successful events benefit from the most tried-and-true recipes. For our fourth Sip & Share series, we gathered to learn how to mix some of the best tequila concoctions, as well as formulas for building a strong ABM strategy.
In this session, Belinda spoke with Latané Conant, the newly-minted Chief Revenue Officer (and former Chief Marketing Officer) of 6Sense, which bills itself as the only ABM platform powered by revenue AI.
Beyond being a marketing powerhouse, Latané recently authored a book, No Forms. No Spam. No Cold Calls: The next generation of account-based sales and marketing.
Obviously, we had to get Latané's insights around all things ABM!
Read on to learn:
📺 Watch the entire recording now, or keep scrolling to get the major event takeaways!
We're seeing many marketers start to embrace ABM, but if you're new to the concept, let's define it first. In Latané's most basic terms, account-based marketing (ABM) is all about focusing on the most winnable accounts and contacts. Though the way you do that will evolve as things change, the core concept of focusing in on those accounts remains the same.
"Marrying the ease of creating pipeline and winning with customers vs the ability to keep and retain customers is the sweet spot of where you want to focus your entire GTM org." - Latané Conant, Chief Revenue Officer, 6sense.
ABM requires strategic planning. At 6sense, the team met to plot out all their different potential segments, all possible products, new personas they might sell to, and more. That helped them identify where the next wave of growth was coming from, as well as find the accounts they should be focusing on.
In early 2020, Latané wrote an article for Forbes that urged marketers to think about ABM like throwing a surprise party. You wouldn't throw a surprise party for just anyone, right? You'd have to know the person well enough to know where they're going to be, get them to the proper location, and make sure you have everything they like.
In our world, the people showing up with your guest of honor are the buying committee—you need to know who all of them are, and make sure they're all nurtured and engaged with! Having this level of knowledge about your target accounts is what differentiates a decent experience from an excellent one.
6sense recently did a research study and three interesting facts emerged:
So, what does all of this mean? Well, ABM strategies are great for making sure that you're proactively targeting the right accounts—not just waiting for them to come to your website. ABM also helps you progress your ops and include the entire buying team.
And the last point should signal a big push for your salespeople to be as proactive as possible and go after accounts! By the time a prospect is contacting you, they're probably contacting other companies as well. Reach out to them first!
"I don't want to work ops. I want to win ops." - Latané Conant, Chief Revenue Officer, 6sense
Events are the perfect opportunity to nurture and build key relationships.
"Accounts don't buy—people buy. So you still want to make a connection with a person, and what better way to do that than via events?" - Latané Conant, Chief Revenue Officer, 6sense
6sense hosts "lightning strike" events, which are huge undertakings that have 7-8 events within a larger offering. The company uses intent data to curate the content of the event, as well as the invite list and the post-event follow-up content.
While intent data can help you make sure you're reaching out to the right people, the team has been harnessing the power of generative AI to read, write, and respond to emails. The AI assistant uses the landing page for the event to write all of the emails and nurture the conversation to the point of registration and even after.
Another tactic 6sense uses is to decide on a big "revenue play" event that all departments will rally around. The revenue plays are led by the product marketing team and happen once per quarter, and everyone from BDRs to content folks to ABX gets involved. That's helped create some order out of the chaos in terms of events.
After an event, timely followup is critical—the sooner you or your sales team can reach out, the better.
"The half-life after an event is like 12 hours. The rate of response starts to decay very quickly." - Latané Conant, Chief Revenue Officer, 6sense
But you also don't want to overload your sales team with too much info. At 6sense, their sales team is consolidated on one process, which is a 6sense qualified account or activity. Each day, the sales team gets the list of the highest-value accounts to work, whether that's the output of an event or a bunch of people showing intent.
The aim here is to make it as simple and straightforward for sales to do their jobs. Every Monday, Latané gets a report of unworked qualified accounts that she can follow up on. This keeps everyone aligned and on the same page as far as what to prioritize.
Finally, how do you track and measure your ABM initiatives—particularly around events—to decide whether you're succeeding or not?
According to Latané, before you even launch a campaign, you must be clear on your business objectives. What are you trying to achieve? Are you trying to retain customers or upsell them? Do you want net new pipeline? Do you just want awareness?
From there, every campaign needs to follow five steps:
Impressed by these tips? Don't forget to check out the full episode on demand to get all of Latané's expert insight!
Q: How can you measure what specifically delivers the progress in pipeline?
A: The team at 6sense tracks every stage of the pipeline and the time in stage, as well as conversions by stage. They know everything they did directed toward each stage, and they look to see whether those activities reduced time in stage or increased progression. This can also help you identify any "dead zones" between stages and focus some ABM efforts there to keep people going.
Q: How important is it to invest in things that aren't always measurable?
A: Latané recently gave a presentation about the difference between the income statement and the balance sheet. Income statement investments generate immediate pipeline and revenue, while the balance sheet accounts for intangible assets or goodwill.
The difference between what someone would pay for your company and your actual revenue gets chalked up to goodwill. For marketers, this could be called "brand."
It's important to balance your investments between both your income statement and balance sheet. Things that build your customer community and affinity with your product are all balance sheet items that build your brand. While they could at some point boost your income statement, they're still incredibly important on their own.