Imprivata Secures Successful Account Strategy By Applying New Demand Unit Waterfall

Written by
Elise Schoening

After Imprivata, an IT security company, decided to focus strictly on the healthcare industry, the company committed to going all in on ABM. The timing of the decision aligned well with the release of SiriusDecisions’s new Demand Unit Waterfall. As such, Imprivata agreed to be an early adopter of applying the new model to build on and optimize the success of their laser-focused marketing initiatives.

Since rolling out the new methodology to its sales and marketing teams in January 2017, the company has boosted its average initial booking rates by 38% and increased marketing pipeline contribution by as much as 80%.

Imprivata, which was named one of the most innovative cybersecurity companies to watch in 2018 and has had 30 patents issued to date, offers patient identification, palm scanning, HIPAA compliance messaging technology and more for hospitals and healthcare professionals.

But according to Naomi Marr, the company’s Director of Marketing Operations, Imprivata wasn’t always focused on the healthcare industry.

“We used to sell to every industry,” said Marr in an interview with ABM In Action. “But when Obamacare passed, the executive team decided to focus solely on healthcare and we went to a targeted account model. Then, we went to account-based marketing and selling. It’s been kind of this continuous journey of focusing in on who we wanted to target and how we wanted to communicate with them.”

In an effort to further home in on target accounts and enhance its ABM strategies, Imprivata partnered with SiriusDecisions in 2017 and agreed to beta test the new Demand Unit Waterfall.

“Selecting a set of target accounts that marketing and sales jointly align their focus on is a powerful first step in an ABM strategy,” said Terry Flaherty, Senior Research Director at SiriusDecisions, in an interview with ABM In Action

“But for true alignment, there’s a need for greater visibility and granularity than just agreeing on a set of target accounts. Our Demand Map is the construct that is used to identify potential opportunities and define the best go-to-market strategy for each demand unit/opportunity to optimize the revenue in the account.”


Elevating ABM Success With Demand Units And Intent Data

The Demand Unit Waterfall aims to help businesses better define and target their total addressable market via demand units — buying groups that focus on an organization’s need.

With the new framework, Imprivata was able to align its sales and marketing teams around a central view of target accounts, as well as gain better visibility into account activity and sales opportunities.­­­

“It was really a way to look at the market, starting all the way at the top,” said Mark Erwich, VP of Marketing at Imprivata, in an interview with ABM In Action. “It creates consistent nomenclature between marketing and sales and significantly better alignment in terms of the results that we have seen and the progress that sales is making within those accounts.”

Imprivata began by creating five demand units — one for each of Imprivata’s main product offerings — whenever a new account was added. This allowed the company to identify the multiple stakeholders and sales opportunities within an account, develop a customized engagement strategy for each and track how these demand units moved through the waterfall’s seven stages:

Imprivata used account information coupled with first-party intent data from Demandbase and third-party intent from True Influence to generate demand unit scores. This allowed the sales team to identify priority accounts and develop go-to-market strategies that followed the Demand Unit Waterfall. The company created customized homepage experiences for top accounts using Evergage and delivered targeted display ads via Terminus. Imprivata also used email campaigns and direct mailers to move accounts through the waterfall.

“We’re actually scoring opportunities now versus scoring just people impacting sales,” said Marr. “We’re providing the data to help sales validate, based on what we’re seeing in the market, whether the strategy they’ve chosen is accurate.”


Ensuring Sales Buy-In From The Start

Before rolling out the Demand Unit Waterfall to its entire team, Imprivata implemented a two-month pilot program. The company took care to involve a number of sales reps from the very beginning to ensure awareness and buy-in across sales.

“We built out our ABM program understanding a few things: one is that we needed a tighter connection with sales and two is that we needed to refine and kind of focus the message we were sending to our customers and prospects,” said Lynne Powers, Director of Global Demand Generation at Imprivata, in an interview with ABM In Action.

According to Erwich, weekly meetings were held with the sales teams and feedback from sales reps was encouraged throughout the process.

“When I announced this to the sales organization back in January, one of the sales reps was with me on stage,” he said. “That really helped create confidence in the other reps that ‘hey if this rep is believing in it, then we will believe in it as well.’”

Results from the pilot program proved the potential of the Demand Unit Waterfall, with the total level of account engagement growing 2055%.

After full implementation, Imprivata saw its average booking rates increase by 38% and marketing pipeline contribution rose 80%. The company also updated nearly one-third (32%) of key personas, and conversion of MQLs to opportunities grew from 18% to 25%.

The Demand Unit Waterfall is currently being used across Imprivata’s North American offices, but according to Powers, the company plans to build on its current success and take the framework global in the coming years.

“If you go and consider an ABM strategy, the Demand Unit Waterfall is the way to track it,” said Erwich. “I wouldn’t see another way to do it and have meaningful results with the ability to share that internally in an organization.”

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