Adobe’s ABM Strategy | How We Do Account-Based Marketing at Scale

I love account-based marketing (ABM).

I’ve been running ABM teams for some time and find it incredibly satisfying. To me, it is almost like a play. There is a good amount of preparation and planning with many individuals and teams that manage to pull off a unified campaign, and – when done right – the results are incredible.

Like most companies, our team at Adobe executes ABM campaigns to larger companies where our deal sizes are a bit bigger and the sales cycles are a bit longer. Because of the bigger deal sizes and longer sales cycle, we have found that a focused, ABM approach leads to better performance of our marketing department. Now, I’d like to give back by sharing a glimpse into Adobe’s ABM strategy and how our teams execute some of the top-performing marketing.

Step 1: Align on what accounts matter

We spend a considerable amount of time aligning on what accounts we should be targeting with marketing and outbound efforts. There are a few factors that could be its own blog post, such as company-wide initiatives to move into a new market (industry, region) but at its core, here’s how we align on accounts.

First, we use Mintigo to generate an account fit score for all of the prospects in our database. Account-based marketing is all about being specific, so we intentionally do not want to market to accounts we know just aren’t a great fit for our product. Our conversion rate to opportunity and win rates won’t be high enough to justify the effort and budget.

After we’ve let technology do an initial pass at the accounts, we conduct a manual review (scrub) in partnership with SDRs and sales teams every quarter. This ensures we’re in alignment and stay in alignment throughout the year. We also adjust lists regularly as accounts change account scores, become open opportunities and therefore should be removed from pipeline building campaigns, etc. This is then pushed to advertising accounts automatically via ABM Essentials.

Step 2: Adjust digital media to accounts

Once we align on account targeting, we adjust our digital media accordingly. This usually involves a heavy amount of budget on LinkedIn Ads, since LinkedIn can run ads to specific accounts. We execute a number of different types of campaigns:

  • Retargeting – retargeting against just our target accounts means we can invest more per account.
  • Personas – show relevant content for some of the personas we sell to, such as marketing operations, demand generation, and marketing leaders – this helps increase CTR.
  • Standard – generic direct response campaign that tests a high volume of new content pieces and optimizes for maximum ROI.
  • Campaigns – advertising for any campaigns that we might be running in the market such as events.

In addition to LinkedIn, we also use Demandbase for display advertising. One way we use display advertising is to open opportunities. Our goal with those efforts is to help sales build out the buying committee and build consensus among that buying committee.

Step 3: Implement ABM-specific activities

Once we adjust our digital media, we implement ABM-specific activities. The largest and most important one in terms of the impact the business is direct mail and we use Alyce for most of our direct mail. What I love about Alyce is that every prospect receives a personalized gift that they will actually care about, it’s more environmentally friendly than traditional direct mail, and the gift is exchanged only when the meeting is booked, which improves ROI of the channel.

The sales development team is an incredibly important team at Adobe. In addition to arming our sales development team with direct mail, we executed “platform-assisted outbound” – i.e. marketing funds and manages software to support intelligent outbound efforts via specific platforms such as Bombora and G2Crowd. We already do this for our inbound efforts, but take an account-view approach for our ABM.

Step 4: Measure the impact of ABM-specific efforts

I believe that the purpose of marketing is to grow a company, so I am a big believer in measuring marketing to revenue. We, of course, use Bizible for multi-touch attribution tracking and optimization, including for all of our ABM efforts. This is so critical as our sales cycle is much longer ABM than some of our efforts to SMBs or inbound marketing, so ensuring we have quality measurement was extremely helpful in proving internally the value ABM delivers.

Some of the key ABM-related reports we’ve built using Bizible include Marketing Qualified Contacts, Marketing Qualified Accounts, Opportunities/Pipeline, Win Rates and Deal Sizes, as well as Revenue by Channel and Campaign.

Bringing it all together

ABM is not an inexpensive marketing motion. It can’t exist on its own, so we execute all of our ABM in close coordination with inbound marketing teams. This includes content marketing, web experiences, SEO leads, and more in order to ensure we’re squeezing out the maximum ROI of our marketing activities.

I hope you learned something new today. I’d love to learn something from you, so If you’re willing to share your secrets for high-performing ABM, please comment below. 

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