How to Run an ABM Initiative Without Buying an ABM Solution

September 21, 2020

You might have a golden list of accounts that the sales team wants to focus on, but you don’t have the budget for a shiny new ABM platform. Jasmine Chung, Demand Generation Manager at Openprise, showed us how they are doing it at their company and the results they are seeing.

Account-Based Marketing is one of the hottest topics within the Marketing world, odds are you’re probably already running some kind of ABM programs at your company. You might have a golden list of accounts that the sales team wants to focus on, but you don’t have the budget for a shiny new ABM platform. Jasmine Chung, Demand Generation Manager at Openprise, showed us how they are doing it at their company and the results they are seeing.


Accelerating their ABM initiative


Openprise decided to accelerate their Account-Based Marketing efforts and was in the process of evaluating ABM platforms, when they decided to keep their initiatives in house. To do this, they created a system that would allow them to run successful ABM campaigns with a strategy of acquisition, acceleration, expansion. This strategy enabled Openprise to engage with the right accounts to boost ROI, and accelerate their sales cycle by working with multiple stakeholders from the start.


abm targeting timeline

Their strategy was comprised of seven steps:

  1. Define the ICP and choose target accounts
  2. Build a contact list from target accounts
  3. Retarget to build awareness
  4. Create the content
  5. Structured outreach from Marketing and Sales
  6. Triple-touch follow-up
  7. Measure, improve, repeat


Defining their Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)


When it came time to define their ICP, Openprise’s Marketing team asked themselves these key questions


  • Who are the most profitable customers? (LTV focused)
  • Which industries are hit hardest by the spread of COVID-19? 
  • Who do we sell to? (Sales Ops v. Marketing Ops v. IT)


To answer these questions, they first focused on life-time value (LTV), which is the predicted net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with the customer. With how COVID-19 has affected the world, they dug into their own data to find out which industries to target this year. ABM is all about targeting the right person at the right time.



abm account grading

Account Grading


One size does not fit all! Instead of MQLs, Openprise implemented an account grading system to “score” their target accounts. The team studied their own data from previous closed-won opportunities, and built their personalities and traits into a grading system so that the Sales team could be hyper focused without having to sift through numerous leads inside of Salesforce. However, this is only possible with a clean database. If things are not tagged properly, none of this will work properly. Learn more about building your target account list using data.



Account-Based Marketing Timeline


Openprise created this timeline to keep their ABM efforts on track and make sure Sales and Marketing were working together in their campaigns. After the list is created by Sales, it is sent to Marketing and tagged in their CRM appropriately. Then, retargeting begins and runs for a few weeks. After this, their marketing emails begin with Sales touches in between. The coordination between Sales and Marketing is key - like a race where the baton has to be handed off to the next runner before heading off. 


abm campaign timeline


Prospects’ interests change with the times -- adapt your offer as your prospects’ interests adapt to see the best results. Openprise’s initial offer of Bose headphones worked very well at first, however once the Covid-19 pandemic began they saw dwindling results. They switched the offer to an Amazon gift card instead and saw great results again.


abm campaign ads
abm campaign ads



















Why this ABM method worked


abm account scoring

Let’s break down why this method worked. Openprise defined their ICP by studying their data, then methodically targeted the best accounts based on their total account and lead engagement scores. They then selected the highest scoring accounts for their ABM campaign, knowing those accounts would be most likely to engage. This system allowed the Sales and Marketing teams to align in a more meaningful way with one playbook for the entire team. Additionally, Openprise enriched their account data through multiple providers, such as D&B or Zoominfo. Every data provider has its own strengths. 


The Openprise team also set daily deliverables, used a common set of metrics, and followed a method of: test, improve, execute. By focusing their efforts on a smaller number of more targeted accounts, they were able to create more compelling, relevant offers. 



How they assess the results

abm opportunities attribution


In order to assess the outcome of your campaign the #1 thing you need is clean data -- everything needs to be deduped, tagged correctly, and attributed to the right campaigns. A clean database will allow you to turn your leads into contacts, match contacts to accounts, and monitor key account activities. Then you can get real insights into what’s working and what's not within your ABM campaigns. Learn more about B2B marketing attribution.







Looking to scale demand generation?


Join our Demand Generation community


Check these other blog posts:

June 3, 2021
How to Nurture Enterprise Accounts with a Multi-Channel Strategy

Nurturing enterprise accounts requires continuous education through multiple channels before they might see a need for your solution. Here we discuss the most effective ways to use multiple channels to nurture your target accounts.

January 14, 2021
How to Build a Demand Generation Budget for FY2021

The shift to virtual events in 2020, along with uncertainty about when live events will resume, makes this year’s budget planning a bit tougher than others. However, you can use the same methodology to set your team up for success in 2021.

October 22, 2020
Running Integrated Marketing Campaigns in 2020

If you’re targeting mid-market or enterprise companies, you can't rely on a single channel to drive engagement and qualified leads. Here we share examples of campaigns with solid ROI and show how to integrate different channels into a unique workflow.

October 15, 2020
Marketo vs HubSpot vs ActiveCampaign

HubSpot and Marketo are considered the #1 and #2 marketing automation softwares in the world. ActiveCampaign, on the other hand, is a powerful and easy-to-use marketing automation & sales CRM platform designed for small businesses on a budget. How do you decide which is right for you?

September 3, 2020
How Intellimize Leveraged B2B Direct Mail to Generate $4.6M in Sales Pipeline

Intellimize used SaaSMQL’s expertise to launch targeted ABM campaigns, integrating Direct Mail with automated emails and LinkedIn ads to engage with 800 accounts within their ideal customer profile. Their investment generated $4.6M in ARR pipeline.

August 12, 2020
SEO Strategy: 5 Tips to Scale Your Organic Traffic

Looking for some no-nonsense SEO tips to boost your site’s search engine rankings? We sat down with Aaron Moskowitz, Director of SEO at Golden Hippo, and covered 5 easy-to-implement tactics that help increase your website's ranking and boost inbound traffic.

August 5, 2020
The 9 Most Important Metrics for B2B Startups

By tracking and taking action in improving essential metrics you can position your team for better performance and productivity. Here we provide some insights into what we believe are the most important KPIs every young B2B SaaS company should track as soon as revenue streams arise.

July 1, 2020
How We Generate $1M in Sales Pipeline with Direct Mail

Here we explain step-by-step how at SaaSMQL we are able to consistently generate over $1M in new sales pipeline every month by using a targeted direct mail approach. We also discuss mistakes to avoid during the process and how to track the campaign performance.

June 23, 2020
7 Steps to launching your first B2B Direct Mail campaign

Direct mail is the best-performing direct response channel, bringing in results “10 to 30 times better than email”. Most companies don’t leverage direct mail because it's hard to execute, and requires plenty of time and resources. Here we will go over the 7 steps to launching a direct mail campaign.

June 16, 2020
A Common Sense Approach to Account Based Analytics

In a recent webinar for DemandGen Club, Arun Sivashankaran (Founder & CEO of FunnelEnvy) shared the good, bad, and ugly from his years of experience with B2B demand generation teams tackling account based analytics & personalization.

June 2, 2020
The Basics of B2B Marketing Attribution

How do you know which programs are generating qualified leads and pipeline, and which aren’t? How can you make sure a lead is tagged correctly throughout the entirety of their buying journey? Here we discuss the basics of B2B marketing attribution.

May 27, 2020
The Top 4 Direct Mail Use Cases for B2B Startups

Modern ABM marketers are seeing direct mail emerge as an effective channel for B2B companies to engage and convert target accounts. When direct mail campaigns are integrated into a broader account-based marketing strategy, they become a powerful channel to break through noise and reach prospects.

May 21, 2020
A cost effective Sales & Marketing tech stack for early stage SaaS companies

Your marketing “tech stack” is the set of technologies your organization uses to execute and analyze marketing across the customer lifecycle, and scale your business. The key goal of your marketing tech stack is to measure the impact of your marketing activities - making difficult processes easier.

May 19, 2020
12 B2B Direct Mail Examples to Boost your Pipeline

Given the special nature of a direct mail package, it’s no wonder the average response rates are higher than email. Receiving a nice gift right at your desk in the middle of the work week is memorable, and shows that the sender made the effort to do something different.

May 14, 2020
The 5 Worst SaaS Demand Generation Sins

A strong Demand Generation program allows a company to predictably scale the number of Opps sourced by simply increasing marketing spend. Whether you’re just starting out or have been running Demand Gen programs for years, here are a few core “sins” that your team should avoid at all costs.

May 8, 2020
Right Person, Right Time: How to Leverage Buyer Intent Data

Intent data can tell you when your target accounts show strong buying signals, allowing you to target the right people at the right time. Yet, many sales and marketing teams still aren’t sure how to include this new type of data in their workflows, let alone incorporate it into actionable programs.

May 6, 2020
Building Your Target Account List Using Data

Scaling is hard. You can have the best sales team in the world, but if they’re not focusing on the right accounts, their work likely won’t amount to new clients for your business. When you focus your efforts on ideal target companies, you maximize the campaign’s efficacy and conversion.

May 4, 2020
Building a Successful Lead Handoff Between Sales & Marketing

The lead handoff process is one of the biggest bottlenecks for every company trying to grow their sales pipeline. Marketing has invested money and resources to generate qualified leads, but they are not always properly assigned to the Sales team and followed-up with.

May 1, 2020
Why SaaS Companies Underspend on Demand Generation

Low confidence in marketing attribution and ROI often causes SaaS companies to cut investments on demand generation. By tracking your CAC and the value of each stage of your marketing funnel, you can allocate your budget to drive real growth.

April 30, 2020
Driving Qualified Meetings with Direct Mail Campaigns

When direct mail campaigns are integrated into a broader account-based marketing strategy, they become a powerful channel to break through the noise and reach your ideal contacts.

April 29, 2020
How We Use LinkedIn Ads to Engage with Target Accounts

Learn how to build effective Account-Based Marketing campaigns using LinkedIn Ads. We'll present specific examples and step-by-step instructions on how to target your named accounts and drive qualified leads.

December 1, 2019
ABM Unlocked: How to Leverage Buyer Intent Data in Real Time

In this video you'll learn how you can leverage intent data to increase conversion on your ABM campaigns and engage with your target accounts. We'll provide an intro about buyer intent data, the difference between 1st party data and 3rd party data, and how to track customers' offsite behaviors.

August 15, 2019
Creating a Demand Generation Budget From Scratch

In this video you’ll learn how to draft a demand generation budget starting from your revenue goals. We’ll discuss about funnel metrics, Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC), what line items should be considered when creating the budget, how to forecast your ROI, and what tools can help you.

June 6, 2019
ABM: How to Define Your Ideal Customer Profile

In this video you'll learn how to build the right target account list. By focusing all your efforts toward the ideal accounts, you'll maximize campaign's efficacy and conversion.

March 26, 2019
How to Generate ROI from Event Marketing

In this video we'll share lessons on how to generate pipeline sponsoring third-party conferences, how to best manage follow-ups and track results, and how to scale the strategy to 100+ events per year. We'll also discuss about best practices on how to run your first user conference successfully.

December 9, 2018
Video: Integrating Direct Mail Campaigns in Your ABM Strategy

Direct mail has been emerging as an effective channel for B2B companies to engage and convert their target accounts. When direct mail campaigns are integrated into a broader account-based marketing strategy, they become a powerful channel to break through the noise and reach your ideal contacts.

July 21, 2018
What are the biggest mistakes that B2B SaaS startups make in sales?

The 8 most common sales mistakes that I frequently notice in venture-funded SaaS startups. These include adding territories too early or hire a bunch of AEs when there is no pipeline. Avoiding these early mistakes will impact your ARR from the beginning.

June 9, 2018
The 6 Initial Steps to Transition to an Account-Based Strategy

Marketing is no longer incentivized to simply generate leads at the top-of-the-funnel and throwing them to sales. The metrics that matter now are account engagement, number of opportunities generated, pipeline ($) and revenue.

June 8, 2018
Why All SaaS Companies Need Demand Generation

Demand generation entails generating sales opportunities for your company's products or services. A good demand generation engine can help a company engage new prospects, generate interest online and offline, and attract prospects, which are then converted to leads and turned into sales pipeline.