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How Coursedog is navigating an ABM journey

30-second summary:

  • Coursedog implemented an ABM strategy with the goal to eliminate sales and marketing silos, maximize marketing talents and gather account journey information.
  • After evaluating several platforms, Coursedog chose Demandbase because of their ABM capabilities and integrated advertising platform.
  • Demandbase has helped Coursedog align sales and marketing and provide better, more insightful data to sales. It also improved the experience for customers.
  • For Coursedog, the pandemic only further solidified why an ABM approach is important, and helped them have continued success through uncertainty.
  • While implementing an ABM strategy can be overwhelming at first, it’s a worthwhile investment in your company and customers in the long run.

I have a passion for driving demand generation for start-up companies: buyer’s journey planning, content ideation, account-based marketing (ABM) program execution, and more.

Currently, I’m focused on B2B ABM campaigns mixed with sales and marketing orchestration geared to drive pipeline and revenue. Not those vanity metrics. This is my ABM story.

Originally, my challenges included eliminating our sales and marketing silos, maximizing marketing team talent, and bringing together business intelligence into one view from which both groups could work jointly.

I was also interested in gathering account journey information about anonymous and known individuals to better understand campaign impact and segment accounts. ABM platform, anyone?

Speak the same language. Use the same data

Traditional lead generation will always have a place in marketing, but ABM is becoming even more critical inside demand generation. It was the strategy we needed.

As a sales enablement solution, it would help sales do jobs better. And because the sales team is a customer of marketing, I wanted to make sure whatever platform we adopted could be used by both departments. Along with enabling sales, I could orchestrate different plays, prioritize sales outreach, and automate MQLs (marketing-qualified leads).

After evaluating a number of platforms, I felt that Demandbase best fit our needs with its ABM capabilities, proprietary advertising platform, and easy-to-use UI.

As a proof-of-concept for Demandbase, I developed an experience where we pursued 100 accounts with a personalized experience campaign. While our goal was for 2 of the 100 target accounts to become customers, we actually converted 20 with a $1 million in revenue and a $5,000 spend. After clearly demonstrating value, our leadership agreed that we should implement the platform.

Benefits: Making the buying experience better

With Demandbase, we could define and execute a new marketing strategy that was different from traditional demand generation.

With the platform we can do things like automatically kick off an MQL to an outreach sequence for the SDR team, identify anonymous and known accounts, engage with personalization campaigns, and automatically move accounts to the correct personalized ads based on their stage in the journey with us.

Our continuing success facilitated the adoption rate by the marketing and sales teams.

Now, our teams are more aligned than ever before, and ABM has also helped us give sales more to work within their daily roles. We send them daily alerts for account engagement and hold a standup meeting every two weeks with account executives from each of our territories and go over their plans for different tiers of prospects.

We talk about what they’ve done since we last spoke, what they plan to do next, and what obstacles are in their way, which marketing can help them overcome. Thanks to the insights we have through Demandbase, we can bring data to sales to prioritize their time and shape their territory plan.

While the pandemic has caused uncertainty and frozen budgets, we’ve still been able to decrease our time-to-close on marketing deals and improve personalization in outbound marketing.

Rather than sending a broad email, we look for accounts showing intent or website activity and have Outreach sequences build that looks at institution type, what pages are being visited, etc. So, we know what each target cares about and can speak to it.

ABM has helped us make the buying experience better by looking at what the most common pages or content prospects view and bringing it to them via website personalization or nurture campaigns. We want them to be in control of the buying experience, removing barriers to the content that helps inform buyers. That’s my main goal when it comes to the experience.

Two become one ABM platform

The acquisition makes sense because both Demandbase and Engagio focused on ABM and had more than 30 shared customers.

With the unification of the two platforms, we get Demandbase’s strength in helping marketers take advantage of third-party data and proprietary advertising coupled with Engagio’s focus on helping them use their own first-party data and visualizing the data to make it more consumable for sales and marketing.

COVID-19 hasn’t eliminated the need for an ABM solution.

In fact, I suggest that it should be a priority because we still have to generate revenue, and traditional tactics don’t work. With a solution like Demandbase, you are going to be able to identify the accounts that are actually in the market looking for a solution by seeing the engagement across your channels.

Once you see this engagement you can run a play rather than blasting people, which shows a major lack of empathy during this time. I’m looking forward to experiencing the unified platform’s next iteration (coming soon).

Interested in ABM? Here’s my advice

How would I advise those marketers looking for an ABM solution? One thing is not to stress too much about your Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs) at the beginning. It works best to approach everything in ABM from a Minimally Viable Product (MVP) kind of lens.

Then, plan to look at your closed opportunities’ firmographics and adjust your ICP scoring model monthly or take a look at the campaigns and see what kind of lift you had for in target accounts. If you get an MVP going, you’ll have the foundation you need to move forward.

To other B2B marketers out there, I highly recommend considering ABM for getting into those more significant accounts. You can create personalized experiences, drive action with the data you’ll have, and simplify and automate your ability to push prospects from marketing automation to sales to orchestrate plays.

While ABM can be overwhelming at first, a unified platform like Demandbase allows you to do these things automatically and at scale. I encourage you to push your creativity and think about what will interrupt the pattern your prospects are used to seeing. Break the mold, and dial in more closely.

Our future with ABM looks bright. May the (ABM) force be with you.

Jimmy Montchal is the VP of demand generation at Coursedog.

The post How Coursedog is navigating an ABM journey appeared first on ClickZ.

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Using the scientific method to test digital marketing strategies

30-second summary:

  • Using internal and external data pulled through online conversations and technology such as artificial intelligence can help fuel the “question and research” phase of a company’s scientific approach to marketing strategies.
  • Increasing content personalization, adjusting ad spend, and implementing chat bots can all be effective ways companies can test different hypothesis.
  • Once you’ve gone through your data and tested different strategies to see which best align with your business goals and objectives, then you’ll be able to continue to build out and expand on these tactics to innovate in ways that best suit your business.
  • Even with all the uncertainty of 2020 this is also an ideal time to establish or revamp digital marketing strategies, not only positioning your business to rebound more successfully, but to prepare for an even-faster-evolving world.

This far into an unprecedented global pandemic, we’ve all made significant personal and professional changes. The dramatic effect of the pandemic on businesses and marketing strategies across industries can’t be understated. But as ever-changing customer preferences and buying habits evolve and morph at an even more rapid pace, how can your business keep up?

Planning for the future can feel like an exercise in futility given the uncertainty we’re in, but it’s also a golden opportunity to showcase the flexibility you’ve built into your marketing strategy. Here are ways you and your company can apply a scientific approach to help build or expand an agile, tech-enabled, marketing strategy.

1) Ask a question and research

The amount of data you have at your fingertips should have no limit. From predictive analytics, to online conversations, there are incredible amounts of insights ripe for analysis. Here are a few examples:

AI and predictive analytics

Artificial intelligence (AI)-based crisis modeling and predictive analytics use real-time data modeling to create a more accurate picture of what to expect in the future.

Using what is now close to nine months’ worth of internal data points like business metrics including web traffic, social media traffic, conversion rates, customer service metrics, and comparing them to sales, as well as publicly available data on COVID-19 (e.g., rate of infection and hospitalization by geography), you can create a robust snapshot of how your sales have been affected by the changes in buying behavior during the pandemic.

Then, taking these data points and extrapolating them over the coming fiscal year or two, AI and machine learning can provide you with:

  • More accurate, data-driven sales forecast projections based on crisis scenarios in different geographies;
  • Projected customer churn and retention analytics;
  • Tailored marketing and advertising effectiveness assessments;
  • Specific product sales trends analysis; and
  • Real-time insights and analytics on social media, customer experience, and customer sentiment.

You can then use those outputs to adjust your marketing strategy as you go. Data builds on data, and your models only get better over time.

Online conversations

Looking at online conversations — who’s talking about what in real time, and where they’re located — can help you focus digital marketing efforts and engage with former, current, and prospective customers.

Using social listening tools, look at your social media and digital channels to see what customers in different geographic areas or verticals are talking or asking about, and tweak your strategy to better support them — whether that’s more frequent informational updates, crisis-specific promotions, or even fun social media posts highlighting how your employees are social distancing.

You can also start to identify and build a data-driven influencer strategy​ leveraging the same social listening insights: who are the authorities in your space and to your audience? Has that changed during the pandemic? Are your audience’s needs changing, and how is their sentiment changing?

You might see seasonality trends tied to COVID-19 cases in a geographic area, where sentiment changes from summer to winter and can then use that sentiment to soften or ramp up messaging or leverage different types of influencers.

Last, take a look at your competitors’ social channels to understand what they’re doing during the pandemic, and how they’re taking care of or serving their customers. If you see a number of customers asking for something a competitor can’t offer, it might be an opportunity for you to fill a void by retooling or changing the positioning around your products and services.

2) Form a hypothesis and test it

Once you’ve looked into the questions you’re asking, it’s time to experiment with potential solutions, like ways to increase personalization, adjust ad spend, and implement chat bots.

Content personalization

You know you’ve got to get the right content to the right customer at the right time. Before the pandemic, personalization was about shopping habits and previous purchases—which are still useful. But intra-pandemic, shopping habits vary widely, and previous purchases may not be indicative of future ones (remember the great toilet paper rush of March 2020?).

Now, you need really tightly edited data that helps you understand: who is your customer, how many times have you contacted them, and in what channels? Whether you’re a retailer or B2B seller, having a complete view of your integrated touchpoints enables you to categorize leads into hot or cold and create contextual messaging that is more likely to convert.

In B2B sales, “Account-Based Marketing” is a buzz word, but any marketer can apply the main principles: ​

  • Tap into your anonymous first-party web engagement data and third-party intent data from an ABM service like DemandBase to refine target customers. You’ll see lower cost of leads and more engagement.
  • This in turn allows you to create more personalizedemails, social outreach, and phone calls​, and retarget abandons.
  • Use past data in combination with buyer intent data to level up your retention effort, focusing on existing customers to upsell and cross-sell new products to them​ that make sense—not just for what they’ve bought, but for what they’ve have searched for online.

Ad spend

Many businesses have pulled their ads from online and print newspapers and magazines, radio, and television because they’re unlikely right now to see a lot of return (especially if the ads seem tone-deaf for the times).

Instead, digital advertising can be an easier, more effective and sometimes less costly way to optimize your ad spend and keep your business top of mind with customers, especially if you’ve shifted to new services or have messaging to convey regarding your pandemic response.

Tactics like Google Ads and Facebook boosted posts allow targeting to specific geographic areas, among other demographics, and provide ways to analyze how many customers clicked on your ad, the demographics of those customers, and whether they took actions based on specific promotions.

Added into with your existing analytics, including customer behavior and intent data, these additional data points can provide a more complete picture of your buyer.


While chat bots are not right for every business or customer challenge, they can be a great stopgap to deploy in periods of extremely high volume—like when everyone is shopping online. Customers have become accustomed to using tools like Facebook Messenger and Twitter to interact with brands, and they often expect a response within minutes.

If you can’t ramp to meet those volumes, you can quickly set up if-this-then-that chatbots to handle simple but common inquiries. For example, customers may be asking “What has your response to the pandemic been?” or “How will my service be affected by COVID-19?”

A chatbot can immediately analyze the question, detect certain keywords and phrasing, and send them a link or fact sheet with company messaging around the pandemic — improving a customer’s experience by getting them predetermined answers more quickly than their having to wait for a human.

If you’ve already implemented chatbots and like the results, you’re likely looking into other areas of automation. Bots can handle order tracking, real-time status updates, order processing, invoicing, and many other backend processes.

Advanced marketing automation tools can bring together your data, personalization, and automation strategies for a seamless customer experience. Automation opportunities are continuing to grow for the savvy marketer willing to invest time and experimentation in them.

3) Draw conclusions and keep collecting data—and adjusting your strategy

Once you’ve gone through your data and tested different strategies to see which best align with your business goals and objectives, then you’ll be able to continue to build out and expand on these tactics to innovate in ways that best suit your business.

This is where your agility comes into play: by constantly analyzing what the data is telling you, you can tweak and refine your strategy.

Moving forward

There is no doubt that the coming weeks and months will be challenging for marketers. Uncertainties abound, from how well we can contain the spread of the coronavirus, to what federal and state economies will look like over the next year or two, to where consumers will spend their dollars with many people out of work.

Yet this is also an ideal time to establish or revamp your digital marketing strategies, not only positioning your business to rebound more successfully, but to prepare for an even-faster-evolving world. If you’re not sure how to start implementing digital tools and technologies, look for trusted partners and consultants who can help guide you.

Lyssa Myska Allen is Vice President, Global Head of Marketing, Digital for Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS).

The post Using the scientific method to test digital marketing strategies appeared first on ClickZ.

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