Fostering New Relationships With Sales To Power ABM Efforts


Jimmy Montchal

Senior Digital Marketing Manager, Parchment Inc.

Getting buy-in from and facilitating communication and collaboration with the sales team proved to be the top challenge we faced this year.

At Parchment, we help turn credentials into opportunities. Our digital credentials management platform has enabled learners, academic institutions and employers to request, verify and share more than 40 million transcripts and other credentials worldwide. Credentials really matter, especially today.

That said, this year we shifted our traditional demand generation approach to ABM, a much more cost-effective and productive line of attack. Here’s the skinny on the development, outcome and challenges of one of our very first ABM campaigns.

Our first (and thus most memorable) ABM initiative was an omni-channel campaign where we identified 100 targets based on their website engagement and the firmographic makeup of their accounts. We then coordinated a highly personalized email campaign with online display ads, both linking to the same landing page. The campaign concluded with a customized direct mail piece, including a personalized note from the regional sales representative.

The main call to action for the campaign involved the targets signing up for a simulated graduation day where we issue sample diplomas to the targets. This enabled them to have the same experience their graduates would once they started issuing through our service.

Our spend on the campaign was between $5K and $6K. Ultimately, the campaign influenced $800K in opportunities with $200K closed won bookings, an ROI of 33%. Not too shabby.

Getting buy-in from and facilitating communication and collaboration with the sales team proved to be the top challenge we faced this year. As a result, we made two main changes to help foster this relationship between the teams.

First, we conducted one-on-one meetings with each member of the sales team every six weeks where we discussed:

  • Target accounts, recent MQLs, open opportunities and recent closed won opportunities for that representative;
  • What pieces of collateral they used and what new pieces they could have used;
  • Upcoming marketing programs, mostly email campaigns that will touch their target accounts; and
  • Account-based display advertising reviews.

Second, we promoted SDR team ownership by the marketing team and started adding coordinated SDR outreach to our major campaigns. With our sales team focused on their existing accounts, we utilized our SDR team to identify new target accounts and qualify them to set meetings for us via:

  • Anonymous traffic reports organized by account (from Triblio);
  • Programs reporting for engagement of accounts after sending an email or other asset (Triblio);
  • Personalized on-page chat in tangent with program emails (Intercom); and
  • Predictive scoring of accounts based on firmographic data to help prioritize SDR outreach.

What’s next for ABM at Parchment? One key activity is a continued focus on the experience a prospect or account goes through in an ABM program. More and more the focus of marketing is on the experience — not just that of a prospect, but also the complete customer experience. The goal, of course, is to use marketing technology to make the experience work seamlessly throughout their entire journey with us.

However, the downfall to this approach is that these systems don’t always communicate, and middleware can only do so much when it comes to cookie sharing. Parchment has one system that does anonymous targeting and identification, another that does the emails and yet another that does the qualification and notification to sell. Things are very fragmented and don’t always work together that well.

Our hope is to find a system that offers an all-in-one solution with all the pieces of an ABM program inside one platform. An alternative would enable inter-connectivity, opening up data that flows between them with APIs or other means to allow us to plug and play with any piece of marketing technology we choose to work with.

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