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In part 2 of our 3-part blog series, we dive into the strategy of driving pipeline and the importance of creating an environment to turn in-market buyers into qualified sales opportunities.

How to Drive Pipeline with an Account-Based Campaign

Once you’ve successfully created awareness among your ideal customer profile, the next step to your ABM campaign is to turn that awareness into a tangible opportunity.

We refer to this next piece of an ABM strategy as a pipeline creation.

Like the Awareness Play, a Pipeline Play is designed to hit accounts that fit your ICP, but the main difference with this strategy is that these accounts have been identified as “in-market.” We use intent signals to determine which accounts are demonstrating in-market tendencies using a combination of 1st Party and 3rd Party data.

The goal is to identify these accounts as they enter the purchasing process so that a salesperson can have the greatest impact by providing early-stage resources and creating trust with the account. This strategy of personalization resonates with accounts and increases the likelihood of a purchase down funnel.


How to Design a Pipeline Play

Some tools and processes must be set up when designing a Pipeline Play.

1.     Identify In-Market Accounts

Your tech stack is your biggest ally when moving into the territory of driving qualified pipeline. Identifying the best accounts goes beyond first-touch or last-touch attribution, encompassing a full-funnel approach with support from 1st and 3rd party data.

1st Party Data

Definition: Data sourced from internal resources

Examples: CRM (HubSpot, Salesforce), website (HubSpot, WordPress), subscription activity (SendGrid, ActiveCampaign), content engagement, etc.

3rd Party Data

Definition: Data sources from a 3rd Party which can be purchased

Examples:  Intent data (Bombora), contact data (ZoomInfo), review data (TrustRadius, G2)

Once your tech stack is assembled, aligning this activity data to the buying process is pertinent to determine at which point an account becomes “in-market.” Some tools like RollWorks or 6sense will automate this journey for you based on predetermined thresholds like a lead scoring model – but for accounts.

2.     Establish a Unified Marketing & Sales Process

Gone are the days of the hero sales approach. Modern go-to-market teams need a shared sales and marketing process to drive real results. This is especially true at this stage in the buying journey.

There needs to be a clear and documented process for the opportunity handoff. This includes outlining the following:

  1. What determines a qualified account?
  2. What is marketing’s responsibility in influencing?
  3. How will sales respond to these opportunities?

Prioritizing sales and marketing alignment and agreeing on these basic expectations is critical to the program’s success.

3.     Choose the Most Engaging Channels for Growth

Your channels must match your goal to be a resource for accounts entering the buying process.

Most Pipeline Plays use account-based programmatic display channels (i.e. RollWorks or 6sense), social channels, email nurturing, and traditional sales outbound to share relevant content with these in-market accounts.

While this content is down funnel from the Awareness content, it is not designed to prioritize lead generation. These channels aim to create multiple engagement points so an account is more willing to reach out to and/or respond to a personalized sales outreach email.


How Pipeline Plays Are Measured

The measurement needs to match the goal. So instead of traditional KPIs like leads or demos-booked, Pipeline Plays are measured in terms of engagement. Remember, these accounts are just entering the buying process; they are not ready to purchase and do not want to waste time on a generic discovery call.

The biggest area of improvement in terms of measurement at this stage is to throw away your notion of leads and instead focus on account-level insights that signal they are in-market.

As with the Awareness Play, there is no one-size-fits-all metric, and these should be aligned to your accounts, channels, and resources. Some common pipeline growth measurements include:

  • Engaged Accounts – the number of targeted accounts that visited at least three pages of your website and were served at least one ad
  • Unique Visitors – the number of unique visitors from all reached accounts
  • Engaged Visitors – the number of unique visitors from targeted accounts who visited at least 3 pages on your website
  • MQA – marketing-qualified account
  • SQA – sales-qualified account

BDRs and Account-Based Strategy

In our experience, this type of play can become a source of contention between sales and marketing teams – especially among teams that do not have an active outbound motion. Since leads aren’t what they used to be, the role of a proactive (and informed) BDR is crucial to making this strategy work.

BDRs need to work with marketing to understand their target accounts and what drives them in-market. Without this coordination, pipeline growth at scale is not possible.

Example of a Pipeline Play

For a Pipeline Play, we’ll look at an example display ad targeted to a member of your TAL who has become Aware and is signaling in-market intent.

Source: RollWorks

This type of customized ad will drive engaged visitors, while the intent signals we capture can help us create an account profile for customized outbound efforts. Like the Awareness Play, these efforts should be customized as much as possible to display relevancy to the buyer.

On the sales side of a system like RollWorks, we can display intent data, website activity, journey stages, and more on the account level for easier prospecting. BDRs can then pull this information into their sales enablement efforts to reach accounts with relevant resources at the right moment.

Source: RollWorks

Want to Learn More About ABM Pipeline Plays?

Ready to take a more proactive approach to your pipeline? The pipeline growth experts at RenderTribe are here to help you get your GTM strategy to where it needs to be. Contact our team to get started.


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