FOUND Friday

A weekly Google Hangout dedicated to discussing content marketing, search marketing, SEO and more.


Topic: Account Based Marketing (ABM) and Content Marketing

Steve Farnsworth, CMO the Steveology Group joins Found Friday to talk about the ABM and content marketing landscape and how these two methodologies are both evolving to work together in the future.

Erin O’Brien, President at GinzaMetrics
Steve Farnsworth, CMO at The Steveology Group

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Erin: Hey, welcome to today’s episode of FOUND Friday, a weekly web series where we talk about search, digital, and content marketing. This week’s conversation is around ABM or account-based marketing and content marketing.

Account-based marketing is a trend that has been happening in B2B marketing for a while. Most of the conversation is around the marketing automation tools that actually help make this kind of personalization possible, leaving marketers to ask how content marketing fits into this model and if content marketing departments can actually keep up with the kinds of demands that account-based marketing would actually create.

Today, I have Steve Farnsworth, CMO of the Steveology Group, here to talk about ABM and the content marketing landscape, how these two methodologies may mesh together and how they might evolve into working together moving forward.

Steve, welcome. Why don’t you give us a little bit of info on who you are, what you’re up to with Steveology Group and why you’re the badass who joined us?

Steve: I think it’s because you couldn’t find anybody else to join you.

Erin: I may or may not scare a few people away.

Steve: I’ve actually been doing marketing and comms for 20 years. I come out of a marketing communications background and I went to corporate communications. I was a VP of Client Services at a PR agency. I’ve worked at startups and big corporations. That’s kind of my background. But my background has really gone from a basic trade shows and brochures kind of background to really driving ideas through communication channels. That’s something I’ve always loved.

When social started taking off, I had more people asking me for advice so at that point, I shifted over to creating content marketing. Mostly what I focus on is creating serialized content, creating a podcast or a show like this for a client who is targeted specifically to help create demand generation both on topics and guests. That’s what I’ve been doing these days and that’s what brings me here.

Erin: Which is why I think talking about this account-based marketing and content strategy situation is really interesting because you’ve seen it all and been around for a long time.

I want to talk first about what actually ABM is. I’ll give you the Wikipedia definition, which is, “A strategic approach to business marketing in which an organization considers and communicates with individual prospects or customer accounts as markets of one. Account-based marketing is typically employed in enterprise level organizations.”

Let’s make that definition a little less formal. Basically, what we’re saying is that we’re trying to market to people or organizations individually with messaging content and communications that are tailored specifically to them. It sounds expensive. It sounds time-consuming. It sounds like a lot of data collection and analysis in order to actually make it work correctly.

Steve: Yes. All of that is absolutely true. First of all, ABM itself is not a new idea. In sales departments, often there have been marketing components where people have been doing some kind of channel type of communication which is analogous to people who we’re targeting who are priced accounts, so we’ve had elements of this in the past.

But what has happened is now copy executives and people we need to speak to aren’t skimming their names on getting content, they’re not providing the information, they’re not answering their phone, and they’re not answering e-mail so they’re really hard to reach. In a corporation, for B2C type sales, the average decision makers are 5.6 for a deal. That’s a lot of body.

You have multiple people you have to reach to make a decision and you have to do it to an audience that doesn’t want to talk to you fundamentally. They don’t want to talk to anybody and you’re in that group. So you have to figure out how you find those people. ABM has really grown out of it. ABM is almost a response to the success of inbound marketing. It’s one of those ironies.

I’ve been really excited from my content marketing stuff, looking at sales enablement. You can look at a client onboarding as part of that bigger picture of how we work with our clients. To me, ABM, account-based marketing, is really a great piece of that. It’s just really looking at who those people are and what set of strategies and tactics we want to wrap around to focus on those people because they’re the highest. We are going to spend more money to pull this down but we want to close a six- and seven-figure deal, so it’s going to cost a little bit more money and time.

The other thing, which I think is probably the biggest challenge for folks, is account-based marketing, you talk about content marketing folks and the other kind of social media marketing stuff, you’re talking about inside sales, you’re talking about sales enablement reps and that kind of stuff. There are a lot of bodies that need to work together so it’s a huge challenge but there’s a big pot of gold at the end of that.

Erin: One of the things that is really interesting about account-based marketing is the potential for retention really should improve. If you’re doing account-based marketing, you should be targeting people better because hopefully you are going after the right people to begin with because I think part of one of the core things that we’ll get to later on that’s involved in account-based marketing is actually really knowing your audience and who the account-based people you’re trying to talk to are.

Not only should you be improving conversion rate – it may be a little pricier – but in there is probably reduced turn because you’ve probably talked to the right people, said the right things and gotten to know them. You can also continue that conversation so I do want to talk a little bit about that. When we talk about account-based marketing, I don’t just mean you have them in the door and then, poof! You’re gone.

One of the things I want to talk about, too, is with account-based marketing and all of the evolution of marketing. We talked about content marketing originally and creating a lot of content, people were like, “Volume of content everywhere,” and a lot of people couldn’t do it and didn’t have big budgets because they felt like creating content was really expensive.

Do we think that ABM is going to stay a practice limited to large organizations for a while or do we think that other people are going to get on board with this?

Steve: I actually expect we’ll see large organizations, but the exception, I would say, is account-based marketing works. Fundamentally, account-based marketing is going to cost more. Are you looking at an average deal size?

When you’re actually looking at doing account-based marketing, you’re going to sit down and you’re going to create your list of dream accounts. You need to look at that and go, “If I close these deals, how much are these deals going to be worth to me? If I go back and look at my big deals, what was the average deal size of that?” so you have an idea of how much money you close for that deal. What’s the lifetime customer value of that and over how much time?

Once you understand those numbers, then you can understand how much budget or how much effort you can put toward it. You’re already working toward those people already. Once you understand that market, if you’re a big company and you’re going to close ABM for a $5 million contract, you can spend $100,000 in marketing activity or whatever that is to do that. If you’re a florist and you want to close a funeral home, maybe all it is, is you doing something around a couple of prized funeral homes where you’re contacting folks who work for them.

It can work for small people too. It’s just you have to look at the deal size or lifetime customer value you’re going to get out of this person to see whether or not it’s going to be appropriate for your size organization.

Erin: I think there is something to what you said. We don’t have to stick necessarily with the morbid example of florists and funeral homes, but thank you for that. The idea of account-based marketing overlaps with what a lot of people would consider to be industry, line of business, or role-based marketing too.

When we’re talking about if you’re a florist and you want to go after guys who are in trouble with their wives and girlfriends, funeral homes, birthdays, if we’re talking about going after people in different genres and then creating content that matches up with that, that is role-based, industry-based, or needs-based marketing, so I’d like to talk a little bit about what the differentiation is and how different does it need to be. How much more specialized do you think content needs to be if you’re targeting something beyond just a role, an industry, or a need to get down to that really personal, what we’re going to call account-based, level?

Steve: If you sit back, account-based marketing primarily is going to be in a B2B space. When we look at marketing automation as a tool, marketing automation tends to follow people by individual IDs, who they are specifically, and tries to track them.

What we’re talking about with account-based marketing is really tracking something at the IP level, where the entire organization from an IP level, we’re no longer looking at individual identification like through traditional account automation. We’re looking at identifying the IP address for that company. It’s a little more broadly.

It’s a more holistic approach to that one account. It encompasses, I think, all of the things you’re saying, but we shift the focus to look at each company individually because you can’t pick ten companies and market to those ten top companies. You have to have ten separate attack plans and maybe overlap. That’s perfectly fine.

When you’re making that list, who are going to be those companies we’re going to spend extra money to get? Most salespeople have a list of their top targets. That’s a good place to start. You know your dream accounts and that’s a good place to start. Again, go back and make sure that you looked at demographic information on that firm, the size of the company and the industry. Are there similarities from enclosed business in the past and the ones that are on that list? Is there a match there and who are those companies that the salespeople want on that list?

Then look through and prioritize that list starting with the top five or even the top couple to start with. Then sit back. We have that list of people and you understand that these really are the appropriate accounts to go after. Start with the most important account on that list. What are these people’s needs? If we look back at our own content, what do we currently have in terms of our own content that’s appropriate to share with these people?

We also may find, and probably will, that we need to do some additional content around those companies specifically. One of the challenges that people really wrestle with – this is the part we have to get out of our headspace of setting up hundreds of things – we have to think about personalization. This is one of the biggest challenges any company that is doing ABM right now is facing the personalization of content.

I think that’s more expensive, it takes people’s mind share and you have to look at it. Whoever ends up on that list has to be just the right person. But when you sit down and you look at your content, you can say, “We have these pieces of content. We have these other ones we should create,” and those pieces of content may be good for multiple companies on that list and it may even be great for other people generically on your content marketing program. But you start with who are those people and what are those needs. Then plan out what you have and see where your gaps are.

Erin: When we’re talking about personalization, do you think that there is a line or a risk at all with getting too personal to the point where someone feels like maybe you’ve encroached a little too far or you’ve done a little too much research beforehand and you’re maybe freaking them out a little bit?

I was having this conversation with somebody who is in digital marketing. They were talking about doing a targeted campaign and they were saying that they were going to do a buy, essentially that would specifically call out this company and those people with a Google AdWords buy but it would only show up to them. But it would be in there stuff.

Even with Ginza, as an example, because we do a lot of competitor data, I could say the tracking competitor data for Starbucks and then I could tell Starbucks, “I want to do all of this marketing to you,” and I could use a lot of their data and competitor stuff that I have and start sending it to them. I think some people feel like that’s awesome because it looks like you’ve done your homework and have really rich capabilities. Other people feel like it’s a little “big brother-y”.

Steve: Let’s take it back to a more basic thing. Look at yourself. You speak, you’re an influencer, and people contact you constantly. I know from my own experience, I get some number of pitches and people asking me, “We just did this thing. Would you like to share it?” It’s like, “I don’t know who you are.” “Here’s a time to meet next week.” It’s like, “Again, I don’t know who you are,” or whatever the thing is.

When people come at me blindly, it smells and feels and everything about it is spam, casting that big net – I don’t like it. Traditional lead gen, demand gen, is putting the net out there. That works for that kind of process because it’s going to yield some of the right fish.

What we’re really talking about now is spear fishing. When somebody contacts you and maybe they re-tweet something on your channel and you see that, maybe they share something on LinkedIn, re-share it, maybe they reach out to you on LinkedIn and do this kind of, “I’d be really honored to connect with you.” They’ve already shared a couple of things so you’re feeling a little more open to them.

Maybe they then send you an e-mail that says, “Listen, I really enjoyed the talk you gave back on XYZ. I really loved that point. I’d love an opportunity to chat with you. We’re doing this and I think it’d be a fit here. Could we spend a few minutes?” That level of connection, familiarity and being aware of who you are and what you talk about and what’s important to you, now you might read the e-mail.

Maybe you’ll read the e-mail and go, “They’ve been respectful so far. I’m going to trust them to respect my time for a 15-minute phone call.” With somebody who has been thoughtful and knowing what my business is about and what I’m doing, I’ve never thought, “Gosh, I’m feeling stalked.” I felt like this person took time to really look at who I am. It may not be a fit for me, but I feel like they at least respected who I am and they trust my few minutes of time I’m going to give them for that.

Erin: I think a lot of it will come down to smart marketers doing the right thing and understanding the difference. It’s also a little bit different if somebody starts hitting you up on Twitter, friending you on social media, trying to talk to you about stuff, and then is in your inbox. I think a lot of it has to also do with spacing some of those things out, not doing it all within a 72-hour time period because it feels a little bit “inundate-y”.

Account-based marketing is, as you said, spear fishing. It’s highly targeted, so you have to think about if you were going to be on the receiving end of that kind of targeting, what you would want that to feel like or look like inside of your digital or offline world because there is a manner of this that really overlaps with the traditional sales tactic which would be you go to a car dealership or something and you’d look at a blue Honda.

Then, all of a sudden, you’re getting phone calls, flyers, e-mails, door hangers and whatever for every blue car and everything Honda makes for six months straight and you feel a little overwhelmed. You don’t want that. What you want is for somebody to call you a couple of weeks later when the exact car that you’re looking at comes in at the budget that you wanted. That’s the thing that you really wanted.

Steve: I think that’s an excellent point. One of the things you might, from a content marketing perspective, consider is you’ve gone through the process, you’ve identified your ten things, you’ve looked at where you have gaps and all that kind of stuff. Most people, what they really like is – I think the number was 60% or 70% of folks – generally appreciate content specifically developed for their industry.

I know this. If I know that, I can go, “One or two of these companies on my list are in this financial space so why don’t I create a piece of content?” I actually have other customers who are in this financial space and these are the people I really care about, but what if I create a piece of content?

I’ll have an e-book or something that’s interesting and I am actually going to include information about this company. This references them in a really positive way, quotes their CEO or some other influence within the company. But it gives them a little nod and puts them in a good light where you’re talking about an issue that’s still going to be relevant and interesting to that company.

You created this piece, you’ve mentioned them and you’ve provided other information that directly talks about the industry that people at that company would want. You can then promote that piece of content in a number of different ways. We can talk a little bit about that.

Now I have this content. I’ve spent $3,000, $5,000 or whatever that number is to create this one content piece. I’m trying to close a six- or seven-figure deal and I’m going to be able to use it with my other content marketing. Now I have a piece. I can then take that piece and I can look at doing a number of things.

I can re-market to people. Anytime someone comes to my site from that IP address, I can re-market. Manbase [? 18:07] I think is one of the people who do that. They give you also this for ABM.

It gives you the tools so you can re-market that piece just to those folks from that company. I’ve also had people use Facebook, which is actually an awesome B2B platform because there’s so much information.

This company had 500 companies they really wanted in a geographical area. These were much bigger than ABM, but what they did was they took those companies, found all of the employees on Facebook from those 500 companies and then created a targeted market plan just from those folks around that digital asset. Now what’s going on is they’re also doing direct outreach to these same companies. This is one example of the kind of thing you can do.

You have the remarketing. You can create ads. You can create targeted landing pages, landing pages are specifically created for that company on your website that has the right kind of imagery or maybe logos, so when you’re promoting something and you’re trying to work with them, they can go to that one landing page which is just for Company A and it talks all about them and is designed with a personalized message. Salespeople can help use that as they’re contacting people or sharing content.

There are all kinds of ways you can take that one asset, really put it out there to target those folks, and also use it for the company. Everybody wins there. It’s not that complicated. It just takes paying attention and saying, “Here’s what we’re going to do. How do we make this work for everybody?”

Erin: As you’re talking about ways to really leverage this content so that you really feel like you’re getting the most bang for your buck, there’s so much that can be done with that too. Let’s say you’ve identified these top ten accounts and maybe Nike is on the list or something you want to do. If Nike is on your list, who’s to say that Asics, Reebok and Adidas aren’t also on your list?

You’ve done all of this research around this particular industry and with this specific vertical because maybe you’re specifically going after a specific kind of shoe like running shoes, basketball shoes or something. You can take that information and I think one of the really great benefits of ABM is understanding the nuanced differences between what actually worked for Nike and then didn’t work for Adidas because you would say we could repurpose this content and go after other people who are in this similar market, but what you may find is that if you really did your homework on Nike and figured out what actually got them to convert and then that same conversion strategy didn’t work, it helps you really understand some of these differences in company culture, maybe location, and maybe work style or how their teams are set up.

That’s also a really important thing to consider, even within similar industries where competition looks really similar and people are in the same town – that happens a lot with people who are trying to get folks in Silicon Valley in New York – the way that the company is actually structured and who is part of the decision making process and who rolls up to what. Even with this conversation around ABM, who do you think owns ABM? Is it content marketing? Is it somebody else? Things like this. That might be a different conversation within every organization. What does the actual structure of that look like?

I really feel like ABM gives marketers a really great way to look at how they’re targeting things moving forward. It’s a really great potential data source.

Steve: I think that’s a really good point. The caveat on that I think is, as marketers, we love to do things and send it to a whole bunch of people because that’s like low-hanging fruit to us. What you’re saying is absolutely on target. The danger you need to be aware of – this is really the kind of mindset as you enter this process – is that you do exactly what you just talked about and not try to find one solution and push it out to a bunch of people. Then you’ve lost the advantage.

As long as you’re going to each account individually and going, “What are their individual needs? How is this company different from other companies? How are we going to address those pain points?” and then stepping back and going, “Is there something that we already have” – and maybe we use the slippers – “that would be an exact fit? Not just something we could use, but something that would be a perfect fit for what we need.”

Erin: That’s exactly what I think that the most interesting part of it is because you would have this information for a company that you would normally consider a really good paralleled competitor, but if you’re doing ABM correctly and really digging in to see what the situation is, you’re going to naturally notice what the differences are in things like how they’re making decisions and what their specific communication style is.

That’s why I’m saying the data there is actually interesting because it’s forcing you to figure it out as opposed to just saying, “We figured out things for sporting goods manufacturers, specifically the people who are responsible for running shoes, within a large sporting goods manufacturing system. Everybody, take this.” If you’re doing ABM correctly, you really are forcing yourself to figure out what those differences, whether subtle or obvious, really are whereas that is the natural tendency of people to be like, “We created content for this industry,” and shove.

Steve: I think that is exactly it. The difference here is – again, this is imperative – as marketers, we would look at targeting ten companies as one campaign. They’re ten campaigns. They’re ten separate campaigns. From the first step, from zero, you need to approach it as this is a separate campaign.

Yes, there are going to be overlaps, but the approach has to be, “This is one campaign, this is a separate campaign, this is the next campaign,” and so forth.

Erin: Let’s say you have a really large organization and then you are going to identify these ten key accounts that you really want to work on and market toward. Do you view the people who are working on these pieces of content and each of these marketing campaigns as separate? Would these be separate people? Ideally, would it be one group, would it be the people who work in content marketing, or would they be separate? In your mind, if you could create your dream ABM situation in an organization, what would that look like?

Steve: I know that right now, the CMOs I have talked to who are actually implementing this and trying to go to it, they’re having that kind of discussion. A little bit of what shakes out of it is in the same kind of sense of if a company has done marketing automation – I think a lot of companies who are going to look at ABM tend to already have that infrastructure in place.

In a marketing automation environment, you’re going to have a conversation around what is a marketing qualified lead? What goes from prospect to an MQL, marketing qualified lead? Then that connection to sales is what constitutes an SQL, sales qualified lead?

Sales gets to choose what that is, not marketing. Marketing and sales have to come together and have a conversation. If I bring you somebody with these characteristics, does that meet your needs? Sales has to go yes or no. Whatever that dynamic in having that conversation is, is the same kind of conversation that needs to take place on ABM. I think it can be the same team for each of these campaigns or each of the target companies, but you need to have a team that’s truly connected with sales and make sure that everybody has a role.

Is there something that inside sales can be doing as part of this process? Is there something that outside sales can be doing as part of this process? What would they suggest on their part when you’re doing these kinds of things? As marketers, we have certain techniques like the re-marketing capabilities and other kinds of things.

For instance, one of the things that might come out of the conversation is a lot of times, marketing might be looking for a lead. Even sales is looking for a lead or closing for a lead. Instead of closing for a lead – part of this conversation of having a team that’s both from sales working closely with marketing – marketing might say, “Instead of closing for a straight lead, why don’t we try to close for a meeting?” because that could be a more important goal by closing for a meeting.

Maybe that meeting is not just a sales call. Maybe it’s a one hour presentation on their social media capabilities or their content marketing capabilities or whatever the thing is that you’re to do. If you do an audit or something, we come in, speak to you and present this information for you.

It’s kind of like in the old ways when we’d do webinars. We’re talking about doing a special webinar just for them. They’re the prettiest girl at the dance, we want to come and talk to them about them, and give them some great information.

This is like the old give free stuff at great value without expectation. You do have an expectation, but you’re in front of them. You’re talking to them and this is literally worth tens of thousands of dollars to sit in a room with the people you want to close, so to spend some time to close part of your marketing campaign for this targeted thing absolutely makes sense. These are the kinds of ideas we can bring by working together.

Erin: You make a really good point here that I want to drive home. One of the ways this can go really wrong is if marketing and sales don’t sit down and talk about where the hand-off process is and what the definition is because if what you have is your traditional MQL to SQL process and prospect to MQL and SQL and maybe all of the subtle nuances that you have in-between all of these different things, if you’re talking about doing ABM, you’re probably talking about a different hand-off process or a different qualification process and people need to know. There needs to be some clear definition because you can probably really create some issues.

Steve: To your point, I would even argue that there is no hand-off. You’re going in together from the beginning on both sides. Yes, sales is going to take over certain activities but it truly is a seamless process. I talked about the MQLs and SQLs, but instead of having a hand-off per se, it is truly one unified process.

Erin: The best baton pass is the one that the customer never sees or feels. They should never know that they’re a baton.

Steve: Maybe there’s not a baton pass at all.

Erin: I think that’s one of the things that’s interesting about ABM. A lot of organizations are not currently set up to work this way necessarily and a lot of marketing and sales organizations are kind of set up to be at odds with each other.

I’ve worked with a number of organizations back in my agency days and even internally as a marketer where I saw people at odds trying to take credit for close, credit for lead gen, and different types of things. That is certainly something that will not help anybody trying to successfully establish ABM.

I think that one of the other things for account-based marketing is when we’re talking about setting something like a process like this up, you need to make sure that when people are talking about everybody coming together and agreeing on who these targets are and the amount of time that they’re spending, you also want to know what other things they’re probably seeing in addition to the content that we’re creating just for them because there is likely other content that your organization is creating. You want to make sure, because you can’t prevent them necessarily from seeing all of that, that you’re not at odds with it and that they’re not getting conflicting messaging. Do you want to talk at all or do you have anything to say about making sure that you stick within some sort of reasonable boundary there?

Steve: That’s really hard. It’s hard to give that kind of high-level advice. I think that it really is about making sure that people need to be judged. I think there are too many people [30:14 inaudible]. People need to be judged on the same goals and metrics and rewarded similarly with risk.

I think that kind of mentality really comes from head down, is a larger organizational thing, and I think ABM is only going to work if you have larger organizational true drive, vision, and commitment to working together as opposed to feeling like marketing is over here and sales is over there.

One of the things worth mentioning is I’m going to give you an extreme example of account-based marketing. There was one guy and this guy leads a consultancy. He worked with companies in transformation and in great turmoil. His lead source was literally The Wall Street Journal. He would read The Wall Street Journal and find some CEO who got the crap beat out of him because of something around failed earnings or some other kind of failure where they were in a horrible situation and they needed transition and reinvention.

What he would do is find out who the CEO of that company under attack was and he would spend $1,000 making this beautiful handmade sword in a gorgeous box, $1,000 worth of sword. He would then send it to that person and it had a little note about something about fighting the dragons or being a warrior, something like, “I understand what it’s like to be in the trench and I’d love to have the chance to chat with you about your challenge.”

He had 100% success rate in terms of meetings and a huge close rate, obviously. $1,000 is a lot of money per account, but this guy was willing to do it. It got him a meeting and every couple of meetings, he did close business so it wasn’t a whole lot of loss. You’re closing most of the business out of that. For $10,000 worth of swords, he would close hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of business for himself.

That’s the simplest example, I think, of account-based marketing. It was one thing to one person. Maybe even shows that direct marketing – and I’m not suggesting you send out $1,000 swords – but it even shows that direct marketing for some of this people can’t reach, old-fashioned direct marketing, customize things, is something we can work for marketing and say, “We’ll create this letter for you and we’ll take care of mailing it out. And inside sales or salespeople, you let us know who these folks are because we’ve already had that conversation, and we’ll take care of this piece for you.” There’s a way we can bring those kinds of tools together and work together.

Erin: Side note. Anybody who sends me any sort of medieval weaponry will get my business, hands down, I don’t care what you’re selling. I’m really excited. I really want somebody to send me a sword, or a mace –

Steve: I was going to say mace. Or some chain mail outfit maybe.

Erin: I’m open. If somebody wants to send something, you have my business. I love the direct mail idea or the personalized situation obviously because our digital life is so crowded that, honestly, you’re potentially going to get more breathing room in a new, unique, offline situation where maybe somebody’s mailbox is not necessarily as crowded. Especially if you can get something that they might actually like. Maybe not everybody has quite the [33:22 inaudible] for weaponry that I do, but if you know what somebody likes, it is a really interesting dot process.

We have some other stuff that we want to make sure that we talk about and get to all in this general set of topics around what the evolution of effective marketing really looks like now and we’ve gone overtime. So I think that we’re going to have you back around a bunch for a little while. At least I hope so. Anything you want to say in closing, let me know.

Steve: I guess that last example, one of the reasons I like the sword example is I think even for marketers who deal with large transactions, $1,000 to one person is like, “What the hell?” This is one person doing this. But I think what that sword example is, is it shows you that you need to be willing to step out and do something that’s truly committed and something that’s really amazing for that business. We’ve talked about it the very first part, you’ve already said this business is worth it. This business, if I spend X thousand of dollars a close, this one account then is completely worth it because my lifetime customer value or my average deal size completely warrants it.

Getting away from, “That’s too much because we needed to send out 1,000 of those,” no, no, no. You’re going to send out eight of those, whatever that is. It needs to be the right thing and spending extra money and being extra clever and going above and beyond is worth it, as long as you’ve been the right person. It’s that mindset that needs to change for us to truly be successful in ABM.

Erin: What I love about that, because it’s so true, is it shows the person that you think that they’re worth it which immediately makes them feel a little happier talking to you. You know who’s been doing this for forever? It’s agencies. The agency model pitching business has been, “We’re going to fly people out to see you,” “We’re going to take you out,” “We’re going to send you swag, we’re going to do this stuff.” While it has become a little just known and generalized in that industry, they have always been about making you the potential client feel special. They’re trying to pitch you, they’re trying to take you things that they think that you’ll like.

I know that an agency had pitched me a long time ago and they brought me a sampling of bourbons from around the world and I was like, “I don’t know if I could love anybody anymore.” Fantastic. It’s really great because you obviously read my Twitter for a while, looked at my Facebook posts, and probably saw some pictures of me drinking.

Steve: There are no pictures of you drinking on [36:03 inaudible].

Erin: Are there? There are. I mean, it’s totally true. You really want to pick the right person the right thing, the right time. The thing that’s great about the sword thing that we didn’t touch on is the fact that the timing was right. It’s not like he sent these swords to people who are having a great day and in the middle of the high of their career, he sent them a sword. Hopefully, nobody use the sword negatively if they were really in The Wall Street Journal, a really terrible time.

Steve: It has gotten beaten up by The Wall Street Journal and having somebody say, “I totally understand your mission and what it’s like to slay dragons.”

Erin: The timing was right. I think you have to really take that into account as well. In fact, that might be a good topic for another show, which should be what should that situation be like. What is the mix? What are the factors that go into choosing what to spear fish? How to actually make those decisions and what you really need to consider before going forward and how to get marketing and sales considerations both on there?

Thank you, Steve, for joining.

Steve: My pleasure, Erin. It’s nice to see you.

Erin: You too. Even for only virtually.

I’m headed to Pubcon next week so we might have a short break. Join us again in two weeks when we chat again.


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