BMC Software’s Dani Scherer, Sr Director of Business Operations, and Ankit Sharma, Sr. Manager of Marketing Operations, recently took part in Power in Precision: How BMC Engages Top Accounts. During this webinar, they discussed how to implement successful account-based marketing (ABM) programs and how BMC engages their top tier accounts using Oracle CX. They talked about:
The challenges they faced in aligning sales and marketing
The transformation of mindset, strategy, and process across the organization
Their implementation and execution of this new strategy with Oracle Eloqua and the unbelievable success they achieved
If you missed out on this webinar, you can watch the replay here.
Here are a lightly edited version of the top five questions Scherer and Sharma answered during the webinar.
1. What would you recommend to someone who is looking into implementing an ABM strategy?
Implementing an ABM strategy is not an easy thing to do by any stretch of the imagination. When we (BMC) began to look at ABM, there was a top level goal in the organization to better align our marketing and sales teams. In order to do this, a shift in mindset was required. We understood that driving change in an organization is not always welcome and is sometimes met with pushback.
In our case, we had buy-in from senior level management, which created a top-down approach, allowing our teams to work towards one goal in a fast and efficient way. By understanding organizational goals, marketing and sales were able to apply insight from their respective data to come together and determine which accounts to focus on.
From there, we leveraged Oracle Eloqua to make sure that the proper processes were in place to ensure that data was flowing freely throughout the sales cycle. As a result, marketing and sales were able to rally around a combined strategy where we are all in it together.
2. What did it take to get your ABM program up and running? What resources were required?
In order to get our programs off the ground, we took a two-phased approach. The first phase kicked off in January of 2019. It was a transitional phase where we worked internally to identify target accounts that matched our ideal customer profile. This allowed us to design our marketing programs and begin running nurture campaigns targeted at those accounts.
The second phase began six months later when we hired three dedicated ABM planners, whose focus was to align closely with our sales organization. Field marketing planners were now focusing on top accounts and we were starting to optimize our strategies. By the end of the year, we had programs in market that targeted 24 of our top ABM accounts and 14 ABM cluster programs targeting our second tier of top accounts, which amounted to 500 accounts with similar customer profiles.
3. What systems do you use to execute your ABM strategies?
When thinking about this, ask yourself if the different technologies you want to use work well with your existing systems. This is imperative because if your technology does not play well with your existing systems it makes it very hard for your marketing and sales organizations to execute and deliver results.
At BMC, we use many systems and technologies to execute on our ABM efforts. Oracle Eloqua sits at the core of everything we do. Oracle Eloqua is the foundational piece that allows us to connect our data and ensure that it is flowing freely across our business units and getting to the places it needs to go.
From there, we can launch campaigns that engage and convert our target accounts. Additionally, the extensibility of Oracle Eloqua enables us to integrate with our CRM to ensure that leads are flowing quickly to sales, Lattice to pull in intent and fit data through the cloud app, and other partners to achieve success with our strategy.
4. Is your ABM strategy primarily targeted to existing customers or new accounts?
When it comes to our programs, it is a combination. Each of our top target accounts, which are generally existing customers, have a targeted plan. We first focus on making sure that our existing customers are getting the most out of the solutions that they have already invested in. This includes helping them understand what additional BMC solutions can help them grow and transform their business.
We also have target accounts that are net new prospects. Here, our sales organization focuses on helping those accounts understand how BMC solutions can help address their business pain points. Additionally, we use our clusters to further focus on net-new prospects.
For example, one of our customers may have one of our solutions that addresses a specific persona’s pain point. However, this may not address additional personas at this account who need education and enablement on another segment of our business that will address their specific business needs. We use our technology to scale this approach.
5. How are you able to continue the alignment between your marketing and sales teams and celebrate the success of your programs?
It is all about communication. When we began our programs in 2019, communication across our teams proved vital to our success and is just as important today. The majority of our communication was done through a lot of meetings, which turned out to be a difference maker and educational tool for all parties involved. We set out ground rules to be transparent with the good, the bad, and the ugly of everything going on at the time.
This shifted the way we communicated across the board. It is now ok for sales to doubt something and communicate that to marketing. In turn, it is now our responsibility to do the research and look at the data and report back what may not be working.
In terms of celebrating, communication is key as well. As a marketing org, we stay close to data to identify when something is progressing. Whenever and wherever possible, we try to ensure that the sales org is the one at the podium saying “Hey I just closed this deal and it would not have been possible” rather than the typical “Hey marketing isn’t doing anything” that is often heard.
When these sentiments come from the voice of sales, it has a more profound effect on perceptions in other parts of the organization. By leveraging this shift in mindset and enhancing our communications across teams, we were able to create an environment where sales and marketing were each other’s champions.
For more information about ABM and marketing and sales alignment, check out:
- Do More with Sales Enablement
- How Marketing Can Prime a Lead for Sales
- Account-Based Accounting and Social Media: A One-Two Knockout Punch
- Account-Based Confusion: Enterprise Edition
You can also watch the replay of the webinar here.