Developing the right tech stack and team to execute ABM can be a lengthy process, but it’s critical that companies reevaluate and refine their strategies to ensure ABM transforms from a company buzzword to a business reality. By doing so, FinancialForce, a cloud-based enterprise resource planning solution native to Salesforce, was able to improve its landing page conversion rates by as much as 30%.
FinancialForce, which grew by more than 40% in 2016 and was named to Forbes’ Cloud 100 list in 2017, decided to double down on ABM to continue the company’s growth. Over the past eight months, FinancialForce made a series of changes, including shifting its marketing and sales strategy, investing more heavily in ABM tools — such as Marketo, Triblio and AdRoll — and onboarding Ciaran Mahoney as the Director of Demand Generation to help lead the company into an era of full-force ABM.
“When I first started, we were just starting to dip our toes into a broader ABM strategy,” Mahoney said in an interview with ABM In Action. “We started really thinking about how we can define our target audience and identify the accounts we really want to go after. We built out an entire demand gen team and their charter was really target account marketing.”
As part of its ABM strategy, FinancialForce created a tiered approach to its target accounts —primarily focusing on companies and agencies in the business technology, financial services, high-tech and manufacturing verticals.
The priority-one tier includes the top 30 accounts assigned to each account executive. Priority two consists of the next 70 target accounts, priority three includes hundreds of additional accounts and priority four is all of the other accounts.
“If you’re looking at total accounts across all our [tiers], the number is in the tens-of thousands,” said Mahoney. “But if you’re looking at our top-priority accounts, it’s roughly 1,000.”
In addition to outlining the priority accounts, Mahoney took steps to ensure that ABM was a company-wide effort with members across the marketing, sales and other departments sharing in the goals and responsibilities for success.
“It’s really easy to point fingers and say, ‘marketing’s not doing enough’ or ‘the SDRs aren’t doing enough’ … but ultimately, it’s everyone’s responsibility to drive pipeline,” said Mahoney.
With this mindset, FinancialForce aimed to develop a tech stack of solutions that would support company-wide alignment around ABM and enable FinancialForce to target accounts throughout the buyer journey and across different geographical regions.
FinancialForce utilizes Triblio to identify when target accounts visit the website, so the company can cater content accordingly. Using Triblio’s web personalization tool, the company can generate customized web campaigns the same way marketers do for email campaigns.
The company can personalize web experiences via custom content, messaging and calls to action. The company also uses Triblio to differentiate campaigns based on account priority, industry vertical, geographic location and buying stage.
Mahoney said FinancialForce can create microsites with personalized, internal offers for top-priority accounts. Other accounts who visit the website will find video testimonials and messaging tailored to their industry and needs.
“In some cases, we do one-to-one personalization, so we may actually call out the company’s name on the webpage,” said Mahoney. “In other cases, we have a large list of accounts and may go after a vertical. We know that there are a lot of target accounts in the tech space, for example, so in that case we will expose content that is more relevant to them.”
According to Mahoney, the company uses growth platforms such as AdRoll, in conjunction with paid social media to reach its target accounts and deliver relevant content based on where the prospect is in the buyer journey.
“If you haven’t registered for an event, but you are a customer, we’ll expose different content to you than if have registered and you are a customer,” Mahoney said. “And again, you’ll get different content if you’re not a customer and haven’t registered. We’re using a couple of different experience paths based simply on your registration status for our event.”
According to Mahoney, FinancialForce uses geo targeting to fuel its marketing campaigns with location data on current and prospective customers.
In a use case example, Mahoney described how FinancialForce used Salesforce’s annual conference, Dreamforce, as an opportunity to meet with customers and market its products. Using Triblio, FinancialForce was able to find target accounts within the San Francisco Bay Area that were likely to be Salesforce customers. When the companies visited the FinancialForce website, they were prompted with a customized pop up to visit the FinancialForce booth at Dreamforce or book a meeting with a sales representative.
“We do that a lot around events, so we use that geo targeting and combine it with some sort of target account profile to be specific with offers for the audience that we’re trying to go after,” said Mahoney.
FinancialForce also uses geo targeting as a strategy to customize campaign messaging for different regions of the world.
“Obviously we’re headquartered in the US, but we have a really broad reach in APAC and EMEA,” said Mahoney. “We’ve found that for our financial management and professional services automation products, the terminology is slightly different in different regions, as are the titles and the people you go after.”
Using Triblio, the company can replace certain words or phrases with local terminology to ensure its messages reach the right person at a target account and do not get lost in translation — without having to build out entirely new, localized microsites for each region.
The company’s ability to personalize content and generate internal offers has raised conversion rates for landing pages by 20%-30% depending on the asset.
According to Mahoney, Triblio has resulted in 9% growth of new pipeline and is responsible for 10% of the company’s campaign responses so far in the fiscal year.
“We’re really starting to refine how we measure ABM strategies and look at coverage of target accounts and the percentage of leads on target accounts vs. non-target accounts,” said Mahoney. “All of those metrics are consistently improving month after month. Across the board, we’ve been having strong pipeline growth.”