Account-based marketing and sales have been around in business-to-business companies for decades. Technically, it’s nothing new. But thanks to powerful new technology, more discerning buyers, an increase in the number of decision-makers on each account, and diminishing returns from the mass digital marketing tactics of the previous decade, B2B marketing teams are looking at ABM with renewed interest to ensure they hit their pipeline and revenue goals. We’re no different.
Next week we’re heading to Nashville for SiriusDecisions Summit and it’s our biggest trade show sponsorship investment ever. Influitive is a Titanium sponsor and we want to generate a lot of value from the event. While we’re taking the opportunity to meet with customers while we’re on-site, our goal in marketing and sales is to meet with more than 50 executives who aren’t customers. We decided to execute an account-based marketing campaign to generate meetings with executives from our top target accounts.
Even with a highly-visible booth (find us at booth 352), getting meetings with the right prospects during events is tough. Many attendees have schedules packed with sessions, meetings and dinners. We needed something that would grab their attention. So we decided to send our top accounts a personalized, creative invite they couldn’t ignore.
Below, I’ll share how we pulled off this ABM campaign from start to finish–including the cost. We’ll let you know the results of the campaign in a follow up blog post after the event.
Step 1: Create an account-based marketing target list
April 19 (just over one month until SiriusDecisions Summit)
We asked each of our mid-market and enterprise sales reps to identify the top 20 target accounts in their territory. The eight reps choose 170 accounts, using an account rank field in Salesforce.
Step 2: Come up with a creative campaign
Last year at SiriusDecisions Summit, we made a big splash by organizing boat rides in the hotel’s indoor garden. The campaign was a hit and we were able to secure 27 meetings and close more than six figures in new business. Since the conference is at the same venue this year, we decided we would rent the boats again.
During a group brainstorming session, we took our boat idea to the next level and decided to offer it as a cruise! Thus, the idea of the “S.S. Influitive – Nashville Dream Cruise” was born.
Step 3: Decide on an offer
We wanted to leverage direct mail for this campaign and send our targets a creative piece of collateral. We started by coming up with the copy for a printed “Cruise Passport” that would be mailed to our top prospects. We reworked the conference itinerary into a cruise itinerary featuring a Captain’s Dinner (the dinner we’re hosting for customers and potential customers), a series of customer case studies to attend, and our booth hours. We also featured analyst sessions that focused on customer advocacy and included a special offer with a printed ticket for an “excursion” on our river boat ride.
Step 4: Design collateral
Our brilliant designer, Dan Ioanitescu, took off with our cruise concept. It took one week to get the copy and design confirmed, as we went through many revisions. On Wednesday, May 11, we were finally ready to send the booklets off to our printers in Toronto.
Step 5: Data collection
Our goal was to find two or three key contacts from each account. We targeted CMOs, CROs and CEOs. The easiest place to find the right people was on the company’s leadership team page on their website. If that failed, we tried to find them on LinkedIn. Luckily, there’s the “Seniority Level” and “Function” filters that make browsing LinkedIn much easier.
As we went through our contact’s profile pages, we saved key information for each contact on a Google Spreadsheet: name, job title, LinkedIn profile link, geographical location.
In addition, we saved their photo, because we wanted to personalize the passports. When the LinkedIn profile picture was unavailable we resorted to their leadership page image or Google image search.
Step 6: Find company office addresses with Mechanical Turk
Next, we mobilized our always-on external workforce–Mechanical Turk (MT) by Amazon. MT is a platform for employing a crowd of online workers quickly and efficiently to execute small tasks.
We knew the geographical area where each contact lived (from LinkedIn), but we didn’t have the exact address for each company. We tasked Mechanical Turk to research 270 office addresses for 168 accounts spread across the United States. Each address was checked by three different MT workers, so that we could compare their results and see if they lined up. After 12 hours, we had 733 results which took an additional five hours to match and confirm. Had we not employed MT, this step would have taken three extra days.
While MT did a huge chunk of the work, we still needed to spend the time to analyze the results and ensure we had the best matches.
Step 7: Assemble passports
May 15-16 (1 day = 24 straight hours = 1 all-nighter + workday)
From 4 pm Sunday to 5 pm Monday (yes, all night), we assembled the passports. We printed off their LinkedIn profile pictures (12 per sheet) on glossy paper, cut them, glued them to the inner cover of the passport, and hand wrote the target’s name and company. We repeated that process for 346 passports, ensuring that every passport looked as good as the first one.
To account for the fact that passport recipients may not be planning to attend SiriusDecisions Summit, we affixed a message to the inner cover asking them to pass the passport onto a team member who was attending. These cruise tickets are transferable!
Step 8: Passport fulfillment
The most important and, unfortunately, most repetitive thing to get right in our ABM campaign was actually assembling and mailing the packages. Organization is key in this step. We used 10 tables at our new office to lay out our passports, organized by company and by office location. This reduced the margin for error and made it as easy to process deliveries and start packaging.
We had our envelopes ready to go (pre-ordered from UPS) and arranged to have the packages picked up at our office ahead of time. Even after all of our planning, we still found ourselves sprinting to the UPS office with 18 envelopes missed within five minutes of the office closing. We ended up not mailing out 111 envelopes that we had prepared because we couldn’t find accurate address information for those contacts before time was up.
Step 9: Write the blog post and send our outbound SDRs into the wild
We provided the list of contacts who received the packages to our Outbound SDR team and they started reaching out to every contact to follow up with their mailer and schedule a meeting.
In the meantime, I wrote this blog post and eagerly awaited the results (which we’ll tell you about in the follow-up post).
Step 10: Set up meetings
Responses are coming in! It’s time to set up meetings.
The campaign budget
Shipping fees: $6,059.81 CAD
Passports: $1,778.51 CAD
Passport assembly supplies: $139.60 CAD
Mechanical Turk: $125 USD
Total: $6,196.73USD / $8,145.20CAD
Don’t miss the boat on advocacy!
All aboard the S.S. Influitive! Let’s talk about advocacy and the customer experience as we sail amidst lush gardens, majestic waterfalls and breathtaking architecture. You won’t want to miss this nautical adventure (rated 4 stars on TripAdvisor).
Seats are limited, so contact your cruise director (that’s me, Liz) to reserve your spot today!