When I joined Voxpopme earlier this year, I was impressed by the demand generation strategy that had been put in place. The marketing team was exceeding new lead targets, and the business development team was just barely keeping up with new business. It was exciting to join this small, yet high performing team and develop some new strategies to do even more to drive revenue.
It’s not uncommon to see early stage businesses (like Voxpopme) spend all their marketing resources on demand generation activities focused on bringing in new clients. In the very early days of a startup, that’s how the business grows! But, once the business has evolved and has built a solid client base, it’s important to also focus on growing/nurturing those existing clients. Although existing client growth was a focus for the business development and client success teams in the organization, we had little marketing activity planned to support it.
About one month into my new role, we brought the U.S. team together for some training and strategy sessions. The overwhelming message in those sessions was that sales’ objectives were primarily focused around how to grow existing key clients, with a lesser focus on winning new business. The opportunity to launch an ABM strategy to support the sales team’s revenue objectives was clear, and I couldn’t wait to get started.
Over the summer, we launched an ABM targeted ad-serving strategy designed to broaden awareness and increase opportunity amongst our top 15 target accounts. This was a huge initiative and required a big shift in thinking amongst the team to buy into this sort of approach. We already had some ABM strategies in place, with dedicated communications built for strategic partners, but a true digital ABM approach was a big financial risk. Planning was key if we wanted to set ourselves up for success and generate ROI right away.
Launching a new initiative such as this came with a lot of challenges. Developing an engaging content plan, ensuring we’ve chosen the right target audience and partnering with the right technology to drive results were all areas that we needed to focus closely on. Aside from those challenges, probably the biggest one I faced was instilling confidence in the rest of the business that this was the right approach, and that it would work.
Whenever you are launching new marketing strategies, especially those that can put a big dent in the budget, it can be scary. For me, the best way to conduct a proper pilot of the program and instill confidence in the results was to establish measurable success metrics prior to launch. Before I began thinking about content or calls to action, I needed to determine what success would look like for our business. We needed to be able to easily look at results throughout the first few months to determine our future course of action, and having measurable goals set takes the guesswork out of those key decisions.
Once our targets were set and campaigns were live, we were able to measure KPIs regularly to clearly see campaign success and ensure stakeholders in other areas of the business were aligned and confident in the approach.
In a few short months, we’ve seen amazing ROI from our efforts. The campaigns we ran paid for themselves within the first month, as well as increased awareness and engagement amongst our key targets. We launched with 43 accounts, segmented into four groups. One of our goals was to drive engagement amongst those target accounts to build awareness and increase interest. Prior to launching our ABM strategy, we saw 11 of those 43 target accounts visiting our site and engaging with our content. In just the first month, we saw 25 of those accounts engaging with our content, a 127% increase, and have experienced an increase in that number each month since.
From a revenue perspective, we saw a 459% lift in pipeline contribution from those target accounts and a 45% increase in average monthly revenue in the first month of running our program. These clear wins, along with some other key success metrics, have proven our efforts to be worthwhile from the start and set us up for even more success as we grow out our ABM program.
Now that we’ve completed the pilot phase of our program, it’s time to go bigger. In 2019, we have the opportunity to build on our learnings from our ABM pilot, to increase our target accounts and package up our content in a way that resonates with individual company needs.
One challenge I foresee for broadening our ABM program is ensuring highly targeted, fresh content for each of our target accounts. When adding new companies to our target list, we must consider the specific message that will be relevant to each company individually. That means an exponential increase in ad designs and messages, calls to action, web customization and more. Additionally, it’s crucial to deliver new content regularly to fully engage the audience, meaning even more creative needs.
To maintain the success we’ve seen so far, we’ll need to strategically plan our content strategy, and do what we can to get ahead of challenges around creating relevant content. Our goals as a marketing team are always to execute strategies that drive measurable results for the business, and I look forward to expanding our ABM program to increase awareness amongst our key target accounts.