Our ABM: How A Company Took Its Own B2B Marketing Advice

Sigstr is a vendor that provides a variety of email services. You would think it had its own marketing to clients well in hand.

But the company determined that “only 2% of our inbound leads would eventually become customers,” Sigstr writes in a new white paper: From ABM Program to Award-Winning ABM Program in one Year.

Concerned that it might be wasting 98% of its time, Sigstr adopted account-based marketing (ABM) — a discipline it was already helping clients utilize — for itself. But it admits: “We screwed up a bunch.”

What is ABM?

Sigstr defines it as “the idea of focusing sales and marketing on a defined set of accounts and doing a damn good job of getting your message in front of the right people in those accounts.”

Here’s the story, in short form.

The company started by focusing on a recently lost customer it calls Klowd. It knew the decision makers and influencers, and had the contact list down to 10 people out of a firm with 35,000 employees.



It tried to run an engaging program — buying a domain for the firm, sending 10 custom Starbucks gift cards with that URL on them and mailing them to people in the buying group.

It didn’t work. The ROI was negative $58 and Klowd did not return as a customer, although it was impressed with the effort.

Sigstr’s next move was to try ABM on 100 accounts. It had 10 sales rep and decided to ask them to each to select 10 accounts to target within their respective territories.

The team worked on determining its ideal customer profile (ICP), conducting interviews within the company and among its clients.

One goal was to get personalized websites in front of target accounts. But there were a limited number of ways to do this, including targeted advertising, 1:1 email, direct mail, phone calls and meetings.

Email is critical in this process.

“Every ABM program in the world uses 1:1 email; it’s where B2B relationships live and grow,” Sigstr writes. “Tools like SalesLoft, Outreach, and Groove help scale that by automating the communication from the sales team.”

Sigstr says the company has "created a 1-2 punch by inserting banners (located within the email signature) that dynamically update based on the recipient, so it works like a targeted ad inside of an email.”

The firm also learned that it needed to "go beyond 3 use cases of segmentation." It worked to add "industry-specific and persona-specific content to the mix and ended up implementing a content metric.”

Sigstr then rolled out its ABM program to over 1,000 accounts, and the company claimed that it scaled.

Among the results:

  • A 30% opportunity creation in Tier 1 accounts
  • 65% of closed/won opportunities touched an ABM campaign
  • 75% increase in ACV
  • 5-day decrease in sales cycle
  • 11% opportunity creation in Tier 2 accounts

Apparently, the doctor healed itself in this case.

So what will it do now?

One goal is to focus on fewer accounts with a smaller target list.

Sigstr also plans to run longer campaigns, going from three to six months to nine or even 12 months.

Sales-marketing alignment is another objective.  

Sigstr’s conclusion? “Embracing ABM has overhauled our go-to-market strategy in the past year.”

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