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Account Based Marketing (ABM) with Shawn Cook

Account Based Marketing (ABM) with Shawn Cook
Brent Tripp
Account Based Marketing (ABM) with Shawn Cook


Often, sales and marketing are each toiling away in their own departments, siloed off from one another while performing their day-to-day duties. Well, those two departments will be working together that much more. Because Account Based Marketing (ABM) sees marketing and sales collaborating in order to target specific, high-value accounts.  

And who better to help break down ABM than one of the leaders from RollWorks, a top Account Based Marketing platform for B2B marketing and sales? Joining Dani, is Shawn Cook. 

Shawn is VP of New Business Sales at RollWorks and has 25 years of experience leading high-performance sales teams, with 15 years in Martech at companies like Vocus/Cision, Eloqua/Oracle, TrackMaven/Skyword, and Triblio. He is known to create his own words like “Compelevant” (a combination of compelling and relevant) or “Humblonfident” (a combination of being humble first but always confident). Although he is a VP of Sales, Shawn doesn't really believe in “selling” in the traditional sense but rather in facilitating buying processes and helping buyers to determine whether or not they should be in a buying process.

Define ABM 

“For me as a sales leader, I always think of myself as a marketing guy in a sales guy's body,” Shawn says. “But I think it's about unifying marketing's inbound and outbound programs with sales plays to improve your ‘QERC,’ I like to call it.” 

 “‘QERC’ being the quality, the efficiency to minimize or eliminate risks within your efforts, and to control costs with accounts that are most likely to buy from you.” 

Q – Quality 

E – Efficiency 

R – Eliminate Risks 

C – Control Costs 

Breaking it down further, Shawn provides an example that’s also a clear indicator of whether ABM is right for your organization. 

“If you took all the accounts in the world, and you said, ‘this group are people who are likely to buy from us’ and you sat them off to one side, and ‘this group are people who probably would never buy from us.’” 

If you can say that, then you are ready for Account Based Marketing.

“That is really what it's all about. It's about zeroing in on the accounts that are most likely to buy from you. And then, as you start to execute on playbooks and programs, automatically, you've improved your chances. Because you're not trying to boil the ocean.” 

Using Inbound Marketing To Identify Account-Based Marketing Targets 

The Results That An Organization Can Expect from ABM 

From a marketing perspective, “It is about attribution influence, actually getting credit for your leads.” 

“You know, where salespeople are like, ‘that's my lead!’ And marketing knows that they've been going after that person. So, I think it's about the ability to actually...tie themselves to revenue outcomes.” 

For sales teams, ABM helps hone the focus of an organization’s salespeople.  

“...for sales, [it’s] the ability to know where to spend their time. And I always say that the distinguishing characteristic of a high-performance sales organization is just that they know where to spend their time.” 

And when it comes to both marketing and sales?  

“I would say that the other major benefit...for marketing and sales overall [is], you’ve got to get a handle on your budget.” 

“If you think about seven years ago, the number of factors that you had to track on a particular account may have been 300. Today, that number is over 3000. And your budget hasn't grown unless you're a really lucky person.” 

“[ABM] gives you the ability not to have to have a 10 times the budget, but to be 10 times more efficient.” 

If You're “On the Fence” About ABM

“I talk to companies all the time who want to cross that chasm, right? But they're afraid,” Shawn says. 

“‘I’ve got to get my lead number,’ ‘I don't know what kind of leads this is going to produce.’ Right? And so, I think being able to define the measurement and what you're going get out of ABM is really important.” 

“The best way to say it is if you want to get off the treadmill...ABM is the place to start.” 

“But you have to define this target account list. You do have to get the buy-in from sales. And find at least one person to say, ‘Hey, listen, I'm going take some of your accounts. Here's what we're going to do, and I need you to be ready to engage with them. And let's just see what happens.” 

“Because there is no one size fits all for ABM.” 

“And I think that's what happens is you get afraid of like, ‘I only have a small handful of accounts’ or, ‘I don't have that big of an advertising budget.’ Well, one of the things I say [is]...if you're doing ads on LinkedIn right now, you are doing ABM.” 

“So, there are some ways that you can feed other data into segmentation within LinkedIn. That could be just a starting point for ABM.” 

Last Tips and Becoming “Compellevent”  

“So, one tip I will give, and this is for those using SDRs (Sales Development Representatives) as a part of their ABM program, where you have SDRs that are reaching out.” 

“...the SDR goes in, and he can see their entire journey. He can see what ads they've pushed; you can see what things they've clicked on.” 

“Make sure that your SDRs and your salespeople know not just what that content is, but why it was created.” 

“There is nothing more "salesy" than someone calling you and saying, ‘Oh, I saw you downloaded this such and such piece of content.’ Like, okay, Sherlock. And then they start asking you questions that they haven't earned the right to ask.” 

“So, we are teaching our SDRs to be able to talk to a prospect about why that piece of content was created. It is a great way to get into a conversation and to get a prospect to admit that their world is not perfect.” 

“And the last thing I will say is I created a word, and I don't leave any meeting without using it at least once.” 

“The question is how do you go from relevant to ‘Compellevent?’” 

“Let's not just be relevant; let's be compelling and relevant.” 

“ABM gives you the opportunity to be not just a relevant solution, but "Compellevent" to the accounts that are most likely to buy from you.” 

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Brent Tripp
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