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Episode 41

Tips To Execute Account-Based Marketing Strategy

Katie St. Peter
Digital Campaigns Manager at Cybersixgill
Kickstart Your ABM Strategy

Account-based marketing is one of the most effective ways for B2B companies to reach decision-makers of right-fit accounts.

In our live ABM Panel Discussion, marketing and sales leaders explained why account-based marketing is so beneficial for B2B.

On this episode, we continue the conversation and dive into ABM execution. Katie St. Peter answers questions about resources, technology, tools, marketing channels, measurement and more.

Highlights From This Episode:

  • Important roles on an ABM team
  • Challenges of evolving to an ABM strategy
  • Getting salespeople on board with an ABM approach
  • Account-based marketing channel mix
  • Effective tactics for ABM
  • Metrics and measurement
  • Where ABM fits in the customer journey
  • Helpful execution tools and technology

Watch the Live Recording

Full Episode Transcripts

Tessa Burg: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Lead(er) Generation brought to you by Mod Op. Today, we are very excited to continue our conversation around account-based marketing. I’m your host, Tessa Burg, and our guest today is Katie St. Peter. She is the Digital Campaigns Manager for Cybersixgill, Katie, thank you so much for joining us.

Katie St. Peter: Hi, Tessa. Thank you for having me. Happy to be here.

Tessa Burg: So, we just did our first-ever live virtual panel event, and it was solidly good on my part. Solidly awesome on the part of the panelists, just great content, all very experienced leaders in ABM. And today, I really wanted to dive deep into execution tools and how people actually execute campaigns and bring it to life. It was very interesting. I wish we would’ve just had more time at the end to get to the questions. So now you… Perfect timing. Get to be our guru that answers all the unanswered questions that came out during the panel.

Katie St. Peter: Awesome. Sounds great.

Tessa Burg: So, let’s start off, tell us a little bit about yourself and your career as it relates to ABM so far.

Katie St. Peter: Sure. So, thank you for having me. Katie St. Peter, currently I am the Digital Campaigns Manager at Cybersixgill, which is a threat intelligence, dark web monitoring company based in Tel Aviv. We are a startup. The name Cybersixgill comes from the six gill shark because our portal goes to the deepest, darkest parts of the dark web to monitor our customers data, information, the executives and third parties that they have as well. I’ve been here about eight months. It’ll be eight months in July, two weeks from now. Before then I worked at Nordson Corporation where I was the Digital Marketing Specialist. I introduced ABM to the industrial coatings business, just trying to diversify the marketing strategy as well as get new customers and renewals there. I was there about two years. Before there, I worked at Rockwell Automation for three years. At Rockwell Automation is where I fell in love with the demand generation and really where I got my feet wet with ABM. I worked for the software business in the corporation where we almost acted like a startup. There was about six of us on the team. I led the whole acquisition strategy for our IoT software launch in 2018, where we partnered with the software company to bring that to the market. That was really where I hung my hat on a lot of good customers coming through for the efforts that I did. So that, yeah, that’s a bit about me.

Tessa Burg: You were bringing a lot of our favorite type of experience in tech and manufacturing and B2B. So you are the perfect person to help us dig deep into what is ABM and how do we execute it. On the panel, we talked a lot about ABM being hyper-focused on a single account and really personalizing your digital marketing tactics, messaging approach, and strategy to what’s most important about that account, which is a little bit different than a lot of traditional marketing, where we sometimes fall into the trap of making it about ourselves and about our business and saying, “Hey, we have a new product.” And going to market in a way that’s more of an announcement and less of a, how can we help you solve your challenge? So, underneath that definition and knowing what ABM is, what skills or who do you feel are the most important people on an ABM team?

Katie St. Peter: Sure. Yeah, I definitely, I love ABM and I like to reference it as more of like spearfishing, as opposed to casting like a wide net. It’s almost like applied psychology and understanding why somebody would click on something, I would say on your team, you definitely have to have somebody that’s creating the overarching strategy, whether that be the director of demand gen, your CMO, if you’re a smaller company, marketing manager, if you’re at a larger company. And then from there, you funnel down into the people that are, the doers as I like to call them. So whether that’s deploying the new web pages with the messaging and actually the content writers who’s providing the meat of the pages. You also need somebody that’s going to deploy all of your paid acquisitions. So that’s really where I… my position now that I do and work with different vendors to get it live on LinkedIn, the campaign manager. You’re also going to need somebody that’s going to do creative. So, whether that’s in-house or you’re outsourcing that for a freelance graphic designer. Are we going to be doing like a personalized Google display ad or will this be more of a teaser video to link to an ebook download. How is that looking? And that would all come from the person that’s providing the messaging and the strategy. So, whether that is campaign manager or director level, I think you also need to be looping in sales. Obviously, sales and marketing alignment. Everyone talks about it, but it’s really not something that everyone does really well. And it’s always like a work in progress that I like to say. So they need to be looped in on what we’re actually saying to these customers and hearing from them, what’s working and what’s not. I think also kind of wrapping it all up and putting a nice bow on it, you need an analyst or somebody that’s going to be doing your reporting. We can do all these efforts, but it’s not really… That there’s no so what, if we’re not seeing any increases in our downloads or demo requests or people on our site for longer. So providing that information, keeping a pulse on what’s working and making recommendations on what we would pull and make changes throughout the campaign.

Tessa Burg: What I love about that answer is you named roles that already exist in a B2B marketing team. So the differentiator for companies that are looking to start an ABM program is the strategy.

Katie St. Peter: Yeah.

Tessa Burg: And starting with the sales team align on that strategy, but if you have someone who’s managing your website, a CMS manager or someone who’s already creating content, a writer, a designer, and a campaign manager, it’s really about just reorienting them underneath a new approach. When you think about how you’ve done that in the past, what have been some of the challenges you’ve run into when you’re trying to get a team to orient around the spearfishing?

Katie St. Peter: Yeah. I mean, I definitely think that, again, sales and marketing alignment, like I stated before, everyone talks about it. It’s really difficult to do because the sales team is, think of it as your brand ambassador out in the field, talking to customers or connecting via email or LinkedIn. So I think just making sure that they’re saying what we’re also saying is a big part because you go to an event and you hear a sales guy give a pitch from a marketing standpoint, it’s like, “Whoa, whoa, wait a minute. That’s not what we’re saying online.” We need to dial this back and have that, I think, upfront communication and having a campaign kickoff call, maybe like weekly check-ins has really helped me. I also think just like, you do all this work and then you get to the finish line and things are pushed back. So having realistic timelines and holding your other team members accountable because at the end of the day, we all have KPIs and OKRs to hit to continue to improve in our own positions. But we need to also be holding people accountable to all play on the same team and get things to the market.

Tessa Burg: I really like the tool or the cadence of doing weekly check-ins with the sales team. And I’ve never thought of them as like, they really are brand ambassadors. We have brand managers as a separate role, but your salespeople are the living, breathing, engaging part of your brand. What are some exercises that you do with them to align almost their values and their personal approach to relationships with the values of the brand?

Katie St. Peter: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think just arming them with everything that they would need. So whether that be copy and paste LinkedIn messages or posts. I’m really big on providing our, not only salespeople, but executive leadership and other people that are well-known in the industry with copy and paste content for their LinkedIn and having that messaging to get them rolling. Here’s some examples of what you can be saying. You can tailor it. Hey, so and so, I know you like this. Make it more personal, but the meat and the messaging and the strategy all has to be aligned. I also think going to, if you can sit on like a Zoom call, like not many people now, at least in cyber. It’s different for manufacturing. Go to a customer visit where you can just be a fly on the wall and give them notes after. I think also just having that streamline, package of customer experience for them. Like I said before, whether it’s like a Google Drive folder of things that they can send afterward. Just making it easier for them because they’re the ones meeting with customers and closing deals and giving our company business. You wanna make it as easy for them as possible.

Tessa Burg: Yeah, I love that. I bet they appreciate. You’re making their life easier and takes the guessing out. I know I’m a horrendous writer and I definitely appreciate good starter point. Just takes me so long to just get the thought on paper. So, let’s talk about some of the tools or tactics that you have found to be most successful. One thing that was a common theme in the panel is there really is no silver bullet. You can’t pick out one tool and say, “Oh yes, I always do this.” But what does that marketing channel mix look like versus contact with salespeople?

Katie St. Peter: Sure. Yeah, I guess it just depends on what ABM you’re going to do. Was it a one-to-one? Is it one to many, one to few? The one-to-one approach, it can be really… Something that I’ve found valuable, and something I’m working on now is a more like VIP experience. So sending them a swag bag or a hoodie and a notebook, or like a gift card to meet at Starbucks or something like that. I think that that’s something that you don’t think about. And we’re always like, “Oh, we have to do emails. So, you have to do organic social.” That’s just in the toolkit, that’s an always-on sort of thing for me. But I think definitely diversifying it with those little touches and personal, little sprinkles on top is really what I’ve found to be valuable. I think always for me and my back pocket, that is like an always yes is LinkedIn campaigns. So whether that be like a one-to-one InMail or a display ad of a video or LGF form to download a piece of content, that’s always my first go to because that’s where a lot of B2B decision makers find their information. I think now we’re, at least for me, I get inundated with messages of, get this analytics tool or get this new marketing thing to add to your tech stack. So just listening to your customers and what do they actually want to hear, I think has been valuable too, and just cutting through the noise. In manufacturing, you’re focusing on the result in the ROI, like, can this slip cut your production time by X percent. With cybersecurity, it’s same on the benefits. How much time our portal can save you from going through the dark web and finding these forums where potential information can be leaked, but also just like establishing trust because the cybersecurity buyers, they’re very big on trust and want to know what you can provide to them. Also, they really like that personal experience that I’ve found as well. So having those different things in your back pocket is good to note just because I think a lot of companies are getting to ABM now. So just what can make you stand out? That’s always my first point when I’m developing a strategy, is what can we do to be different than our competitors or just maybe go viral on a video or something like that, I think is important.

Tessa Burg: You mentioned video and that also came up as one of the most effective types of content within the digital marketing toolbox. When we think about outbound media and getting in front of those accounts initially, is there a combination of the media mix plus video or other content type that you think works well maybe in that demand gen stage?

Katie St. Peter: Yeah, honestly I think video is king right now because currently, we just launched a podcast in-house, Dr. Dark Web that has an actual ethical hacker. He sits and talks about different challenges that cybersecurity buyers go through and different things in the market, things that are happening. So I would say, implementing video, again, I just started back in the fall eight months ago. So just having that video strategy has increased our impressions organically on LinkedIn tremendously. We also see that we have an always on remarketing campaign where we promo the video teaser of every episode of the podcast, as well as teaser videos linked to an ebook. I think that people, their attention spans are really quick. Nowadays you look at B2C in our personal lives, TikTok, Instagram, reels. They just want the information right there, right then, and they’re not gonna read a big, long, text-heavy infographic or image. They want it quick and fast and to the point.

Tessa Burg: I love that. So, when we’re in this demand gen stage, and we’re trying to differentiate ourselves to our target accounts, it really is about using a format that is highly accessible and that clearly demonstrates our benefits and our values. And then you’re translating that down into what you put on the website and those… I loved how you put it, the sprinkles on the top. And then based on the value of that account, giving them that VIP experience, as you move into that one-to-one interaction. Tell me a little bit about the metrics you use across the funnel to know that you are getting traction from demand gen down to the one-on-one.

Katie St. Peter: Sure, so I would say just having a standard dashboard has been very critical for me just because we’re having so much content in my current role now, like push to the market. Whether it be a podcast episode or a blog, or we’ve been getting picked up by media for our subject matter experts, writing essays on like say the Russian and Ukraine conflict and those cyber risks on the US. So really just having like a Google data studio or something that you can look at easily to scale those metrics, I think you have to just look at how many conversions you’re having. That’s normally what I’m looking at, is click through rate and the conversions of people actually submitting a form on our website. And then also just the impression. So if we’re say just doing a brand campaign, just to get your name out there, how many people are seeing it, how many people are coming back with the unique impressions, I think is really important.

Tessa Burg: That’s great. I’m going to go back to our panel questions and see if I can put you on the spot and ask you any that weren’t answered. So, this question comes from someone in sales. How do you know the specific points in the customer journey when you start to turn on an ABM approach?

Katie St. Peter: So, when thinking about where in the customer journey to turn on an ABM approach, I think something… Again, going back to metrics, something that I’ve utilized in the past have been a content syndication platform, like a PathFactory or Uberflip that gives you that intel on how long say someone is coming back to your site, or on a piece of content and binging on other pieces of content afterwards. Something that I look at right now is, we do weekly email sends for new podcast episodes, as well as new content updates on our company, or inviting them to an event. We also link our content and our website to that. So, I would say that just looking at the customer behavior and those really engaged. People coming back to your site 24 times in 12 hours. Yeah, turn on an ABM campaign and reach out to that person right away. I think just looking at the data of how long people are looking at your content and coming back. Clearly, that is a hot lead and somebody that needs to be put into that one-to-one, very specific VIP experience, offer them a demo call, things of that nature just to reach out and they’re showing interest and say they’re on a 20-minute long webinar or coming back to all the videos, it’s clear that they’re spending time and they’re interested in what you’re doing.

Tessa Burg: You’ve given us a lot of great tools and examples of tools we have. Always on LinkedIn and go using that channel from demand gen all the way down into one-to-one, video, being a positive content type. Now you just hit on other different types of content, articles, essays using content distribution platforms, like PathFactory or Uberflip. I think this is really awesome because this is the exact information that marketers want to know. They wanna know like, if I were to pick a few things to start a pilot, what should I pick? Can you tell us a little bit about some of your favorite success stories or mini little case studies using these tools in executing ABM?

Katie St. Peter: Sure, yeah. I definitely thinking back to my time at Rockwell, having that packaged content. We used something, it was PathFactory or it was LookBook back then now they’re PathFactory. But we created almost like a choose-your-own adventure content pack. So for the launch of a software back in 2018, we had all the content packaged into this one landing page using PathFactory. So you didn’t have to have the assets living on your site where they’re slowing down the page time, where they’re maybe not crawled for SEO purposes. People could download them and then it would serve up next content. So, I would say that that was a really big success for me, just because we had a lot of really bit large companies requesting a demo for the software with the launch. That was what we were pointing people to for our paid acquisitions. So, there was a video in there on what actually the software does. We had a press release of announcing that we’re bringing this to the market. We also had a technical data sheet, a brochure, everything packaged up with a pretty bow on top on that page. To facilitate that organically, we did something called, we called it a LinkedIn Storm. So again, going back to your subject matter experts, your salespeople that are connecting with, prospects and current customers, we provided a Rolodex of copy and paste messages and blogs for them to post on LinkedIn Elevate at the time, talking about the benefits and solutions of the software. And that went like completely crazy. We did it like on a rolling time of starting in Asia Pacific and then AMEA, and then the US throughout that week during the launch. And then tie it all up that week, we had the CEO Blake Moret talk about this great launch and what this meant for us. And just again, pointing people, it’s all about that call to action. What do you want people to do after they look at a piece of content? So that was, I would say probably really fun. It was crazy, I would say. Just trying to organize, I think it was like 15 subject matter experts and different languages that we had to have translated. But it really made a big impact and everyone was sharing it from the company and Rockwell is tens of thousands of employees. So really made a big impact there.

Tessa Burg: Yeah. I mean, that’s a ton of coordination. Who on your team is managing the coordination of all those subject matter experts and plus getting that to the campaign managers to execute?

Katie St. Peter: Yeah. I mean, I would say from an umbrella perspective at the time, it was my boss, the marketing manager, but in terms of coordinating the writers, I was the one deploying all the messages on LinkedIn and tracking, but also providing the copy and paste messages to those subject matter experts. And then we all had a kickoff call the day before, “This is what we’re expecting of you, please copy and paste on this day.” So and so, you’re talking about this benefit. Someone else is talking about another benefit. So just really trying to be organized, again, clear communication up front and just keeping people accountable.

Tessa Burg: Did you use any of the social platform monitoring tools to make sure people were posting when they said they would? Or how were you sort of holding them accountable and invalidating at the right message went out at the right time?

Katie St. Peter: Yeah, so at the time we used LinkedIn Elevate, so it was like, we could see all the members. So it was more like a manual click through of those posts on Elevate. Right now, I have a monitoring tool that monitors mentions and who’s talking about our company. I don’t know the name off the top of my head. I have somebody that does it for me. Mentionlytics. So right now I’m using Mentionlytics to monitor all of our mentions, who’s retweeting and posting about us, whether that be employees or other people.

Tessa Burg: That’s fantastic. Well, Katie, we are just about out of time, if someone or many people wanted to get in touch with you and ask more questions, where can they find you?

Katie St. Peter: Yeah, you can find me on LinkedIn. I’m pretty active on there. Send me a message or we could set up some time to talk. Katie St. Peter, that’s usually where you can find me.

Tessa Burg: Perfect. And you can listen to more podcast episodes. Right now it’s still at Tenlo.com. Click on podcast for all of our previous leader generation episodes. We will be doing a migration over to ModOp.com first, or you can find us on LinkedIn at the Mod Op LinkedIn page. And thanks for listening. We will feedback again soon with more great leader generation episodes.

Katie St. Peter

Digital Campaigns Manager at Cybersixgill

Katie is a Digital Campaigns Manager at the threat intelligence company, Cybersixgill. Previous employers include Rockwell Automation, where Katie gained her passion for account-based marketing. Plus, Nordson Corporation, where Katie introduced account-based marketing programs to drive revenue.

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