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Fuze on setting a strong foundation for its ABM journey

30-second summary:

  • When Fuze began its ABM journey, the company worked with Demandbase to access comprehensive behavioral and engagement information about its prospects and customers.
  • After setting up a target account program, Fuze began testing the waters using a one-on-one ABM tactic to identify corporate brands. It didn’t take long before the challenge increased and the right balance between one-on-one programs and one-on-many was found.
  • Fuze developed a pilot best-fit account approach that resulted in personalized and timely messages to key prospects when they were most active.
  • By integrating Demandbase, Fuze was able to bring together information from many different sources and display it in one place to get a picture of prospects and customer activity.
  • While ABM is slow to take off, running pilot programs, getting the foundation right, and focusing on data are critical to long-term success.

Many of you may remember The Brady Bunch show. Apart from my young daughters, who are dressing up as Marcia and Cindy for Halloween this year (thanks YouTube), the middle sister Jan had a slogan: “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” Marcia got all the attention, was the prettiest girl in the world School and couldn’t go wrong. Brothers and sisters! With this in mind, I say to our marketing mix: “ABM, ABM, ABM!”

This is a brief history of our journey at Fuze to add an “ABM” strategy and tactic to our marketing mix over the past four years. As you will see, it wasn’t the nicest or best tactic in the beginning. But today? I think Jan was right.

The challenge

I started Fuze almost five years ago and in the first few months our team grew from around five to over 20 employees. We realized early on that, in theory, we could sell to any company because our cloud communication product is needed so often by companies of all types and sizes.

So we started our marketing efforts to cast a wide net. But as most marketers at some point will know, you cannot be everything to all businesses. And with limited budget and resources, you won’t have a significant impact through this type of approach.

We also had brand awareness issues as we are a smaller player compared to some of the better known names like Zoom and Teams. In the absence of a formal or accurate marketing database, our sales relied on their own prospects and personal networks as well as channel partners.

We knew a proper marketing database was required to really scale and contribute to the pipeline. So we’ve built one on it that aims to be the center of our “Target Account Program”. At the time the word ABM was very prescriptive so we purposely avoided it and introduced TAP – this is where our ABM journey began.

The key was to define our Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs) and narrow down our go-to-market goals.

After identifying the target accounts (sales and marketing together), we developed a strategy that had to solve 1) precise firmography data for each account, 2) an exact structure of the purchasing team personas for each account, and 3) a system of knowing when one of these accounts (about the people) showed signs of curiosity and / or interest in our space or company directly.

If we could, we could communicate with sales in real time and use tactics to attract and convert people to skilled sales meetings. I know this story has to sound familiar. So let’s get to how Demandbase (then Engagio) made us successful.

The solution

When we started using Demandbase, we were thrilled to have access to comprehensive behavior and engagement information about our prospects and customers.

As mentioned earlier, we already had sufficient firmographic and technographic data. By adding this rich engagement data, we were finally able to personalize our efforts and run targeted ads and campaigns for specific segments of our ICP.

This one-to-many approach has served us well and has allowed us to cover our core markets more thoroughly, increase awareness and demand in these segments, and ultimately improve the alignment between marketing and sales as everyone has worked together to achieve the same goals.

As we became more familiar with the extensive engagement data we had at our disposal, we decided to test the waters using the classic one-on-one ABM tactic, focusing specifically on corporate brands.

The results were good when we started running activities for our one-on-one marketing program. We got good feedback from the sales telling us their launches were warmer and the “Fuze who?” Question.

The challenge was to find the right balance between one-to-one programs and one-to-many programs, since it was not efficient for us to just do one-to-one. We ended up piloting the most appropriate accounts that were deeply into Fuze and showed strong signs of interest in our space through third party intent data.

We have found this very targeted approach to be very effective in delivering a personalized and timely message to our most important prospects by surrounding them with a very relevant message right when they are most active.

The result

One of the keys to being successful with these programs has been the extensive, easy-to-use integrations available to us through Demandbase, and how they allow us to bring information from so many different sources into one view.

The presentation is seamless and allows us to draw a detailed picture of the activities of our prospects and customers. Once we see who is active and engaged, we no longer have to go to 10 different places to do something about it. We can automate right there. It’s efficient and smart, and it runs in a way that I haven’t seen on any other platform.

While Fuze has already experienced the benefits of ABM, we will continue to evolve and evolve our approach. We want to gain additional data points and focus even more on some industries or market segments. We’re always trying new technologies and tactics, starting with data and the insights we get from Demandbase and existing systems.

My advice to other B2B marketers interested in ABM is to take it slow. Don’t let your excitement or inner pressure submerge you too quickly in order to speed up the slow and thoughtful process.

I encourage you to pilot programs and realize that data is hard work. You need to define your ICPs and consider where to focus. Going slowly and methodically can help you lay the right foundation and remove any kinks before placing the pedal on the metal.

Also, remember that technology is an important part of an ABM program. In order for your team to adopt it, you need to personalize the adoption piece. When introducing new technologies, we initially focused on features and functions.

The sales and marketing teams loved it, but it wasn’t enough to motivate them to include them in their daily activities. We realized that we need to connect the dots so that they really highlight the benefits.

We focused on storytelling and went through clear and personal examples of how to use the systems and understand the information provided and how to work this into their daily cadence. We showed them how this would affect their work and improve their results.

Fuze regularly reviews and develops our ABM strategy and realizes new benefits with each refinement. If you’ve built a broad network and feel that more focus could be good for your business, I strongly recommend that you consider what an account-based approach can do for you. Your business is worth it.

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