In this webinar, you’ll see a discussion about designing and managing ABM campaigns by Mat Rider from MongoDB. Below is a transcript of the video with a touch of editing for readability.
Hey everybody! This is Rod Fuentes from ListenLoop, and today we are here with Mat Rider, Global Director of Digital Marketing at MongoDB. I met Mat over at the ITSMA Conference on Account-Based Marketing, where he presented this awesome talk on Designing and Managing ABM Campaigns. Mat, if you could introduce yourself, I would love to hear about your background and kind of what brought you here.
Who is Mat Rider?
Mat: Hey everybody, this is Mat Rider. I have been doing marketing along with digital marketing many, many years ago. It also became the hot spot, and then we kind of migrated and opened up into the vast ecosystem of digital marketing to the areas that we all live, eat and breathe everyday now on our mobile device. Then, what brought me to the event in ABM in general is really helping to reconnect digital marketing with our sales team. Historically, a lot of it has been events and email touch base but how do we continually involve the sales process also for account-based marketing with social, with other type of influence like the main targeting, etc, and kind of attaching that to all the areas that we as individuals live, eat and breathe on a daily basis.
A Sneak Peek at MongoDB
Rodrigo: Tell us about MongoDB. What stage is that and the size of your team?
Mat: MongoDB is a database company. Think about it as when you’re shopping online, you have a record of yourself, past history of purchases, things that you might have favorited or left in your shopping cart for later. You have a bunch of items, things and actions that you’ve done. MongoDB is the database that allows online areas, as an example applications, to pull on all of that data. Think of it as like an excel spreadsheet with multiple tabs for individuals. That way, as you were searching in real time, the data is accessible in real time and can easily be tracked across multiple tabs and multiple rows and columns, so that they can correlate it to each individual.
Rodrigo: Tell us about your organization there. How large is the group and who is the buyer persona you typically go after?
Mat: The current digital team is now comprised of 5 individuals, and our buyer persona actually expands from a chief technology officer all the way down to a developer based on the type of product that we are working through, as well as the different needs of the individual that they are actually going for. So you have architects, you have developers, you have IT managers, you have CTOs. It’s basically all of the engineering department people that work on data.
Buyer Persona Focused
Rodrigo: When you have so many different buyer personas you could go after, that doesn’t mean that they are all good fits with account-based marketing. So which persona do you focus on when you implement your ABM campaign?
Mat: I guess we will touch base with sales team first. It really depends on who they are actually targeting within that specific campaign or that account, and who we want to target and engage with. Again, that’s going to vary depending on the actual company and who their decision makers are internally, and that can vary depending on the size of the organization as well. Sometimes, you will have the CTO, and sometimes, you will have larger organizations who have different types of decision makers — whether it’s a director level or VP level as well. We really have to lock in step with the sales team to identify who they want to talk to and who is most important to them.
Rodrigo: When and why did you decide to implement an ABM strategy?
Mat: We had a little bit of an ABM component before, but it wasn’t a multitouch type of program. It was maybe an email component as a nurture track, as an example, or maybe one of the events like the conference that we had in June — MongoDB World to invite decision makers from specific accounts.
What we had do about a year ago is take a step back and look at it from an integrated standpoint — the areas that we are missing or holes that we needed to clog, and there were quite a lot that we weren’t doing with digital marketing. We needed to step it up basically as the usage of mobile devices continues to grow and the areas that people spend the majority of their time on began to change and shift.
We needed to do that as an organization as well and shift with those users. So because of that, we decided to start looking at digital programs, and the shift in digital as a time that people spend online to how we can utilize that and add that to our ABM campaigns, and we will take it to the next level.
Rodrigo: ITSMA, the organization that put on the event where we met talked about the 5 reasons for implementing ABM. They mentioned things like competitive pressure, buyers demanding relevance, corporate initiatives, and so on. Take me back to that moment when your company decided to dive into account-based marketing. What was the imperative or impetus for executing this type of strategy?
Mat: If I remember the conversation, it was “how can we continue to penetrate and create more contacts within a target account and build more relevance within it?” The way MongoDB works is there are going to be multiple engineering departments within one organization, especially when you look at larger companies, and we will use Microsoft as an example — a global structure and they have engineering department all across the world. Not all of the engineering departments talk to each other, so how do we continue to penetrate that target account and continue to build contacts that the sales team needs and wants to be able to build those relationships? By talking through that, as a marketing organization, we looked at what we needed to do and where they were spending their time as well to give an understanding to, “Okay, maybe less people are now opening email from external sources.” So what is another way to touch them and continue to keep them to create new contacts within an account to get more power users and more cheerers behind us as we continue the sales cycle and increase velocity to close a contract?
“How can we continue to penetrate and create more contacts within a target account and build more relevance within it?”
Rodrigo: That sounds squarely within one of the five reasons or explanations that ITSMA described. I would kind of bucket that one under the sales and marketing alignment. It sounds like sales and marketing got together, decided that this was an important strategic initiative, and proceeded from that basis.
You mentioned that you began with email and you needed to start finding other digital touchpoints with your target buyers, and at this conference, you presented this deck and it talked about some of the other channels that you have been using to find success. I would love to hear what you executed beyond email and walk us through what you feel worked and perhaps did not worked.
Mat: The three main points that we discussed at the conference was:
- Think about and segment target accounts through digital and how to utilize that.
- How to attract and engage accounts through digital channels,
- Leverage offline tactics to continue to evolve your digital programs. (You can take the offline back online again as well and build through that).
MongoDB’s Digital Technology Stack
Before we jump into that though, something that I get a lot of questions on is “What does our Digital Technology Stack actually look like and what do we actually use to implement this programs and campaigns through all these individuals?”
As an example, we look at two buckets. What is our Program Management, and then how do we Analyze the programs to see if it is performing up to our expectations?
When we are looking at Program management, there is an array of different types of technology you can use as a marketer, especially within the digital sphere.
There is always something new, something exciting, something shiny that we can take advantage of.
I always stress and suggest testing new things out because things are always changing online. We wake up every morning and there is a new update to Google or Facebook on how marketers can leverage their platforms. But what has been our arsenal, at least for the past year, are things like Google AdWords. AdWords was amazing when it comes to retargeting, as well as domain tracking. And we use Ambassador for our referral programs to track all of those for account based. We use Sprinklr for our social management, as well as engaging influencers that live within an account that are employees in the account as well. Then, of course, you have the native channels that we all have to live, eat and breathe as social marketers as well too to make sure that we are staying in front of our decision makers and we are creating new contacts so the brand is top of mind and the offering that the brand has is always there and visible for them from an educational standpoint or just a reminding standpoint.
Then, we come to the other side of Analytics to really understand how all these programs are working through these different aspects. So we use Demandbase to help us identify domains that we want to target and who is visiting our site. Also, are we seeing lift within this specific accounts and more sites that are based off of our programs. We use Salesforce for our CRM. We use Bizible for our SEO tracking from a competitive edge to really understand where our competitors are and where we need to improve our efforts from an SEO standpoint. And then, of course, you have other things like BrightEdge and Tableau as well too. So that’s just a few of them for you guys to take a look at.
We will look at the MarTech Tools. This is a quick run down when we look at it at MongoDB from top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel, and how that helps us leverage and continue to evolve contacts, new or existing, through the funnel system and increase velocity for the sales team. Then, we will jump down real quick to think about the Segment Target Account List.
At MongoDB, when we’re doing Digital ABM Life Cycles, the first step that we always do is we connect with the sales team — whether it’s an enterprise sales rep or if it’s going to be more appropriate enterprise focused. We look at that, we talk to sales, and we understand where their focus is, who they are talking to, and who is of key interest to them. Not only that way do we get their buy-in; that way also, new contacts come in or they continue to see the effort that marketing has put into place in their bought in, but it also allows us to understand what they are doing and lock in step.
Challenges in ABM Life Cycle
Rodrigo: I want to interject real quick here because I see a lot of companies who understand the value of doing this cycle that you are describing, but they find it quite difficult to close the loop and to do each part. What were some of the challenges you faced in executing the life cycle and how did you overcome them?
Mat: One of the main challenges we have with the sales team is getting in front of them and showing them the importance of what these programs actually have in getting their attention. I think that is one of the biggest obstacles when it comes to at least digital marketing because as individuals, we are always on these different channels and forums. So we begin to think of it as a more personal touch, the things that we are going to personalize, and we tend to forget that it is actually a huge opportunity for selling and getting a brand in front of individuals who are decision makers in helping the sales out. So our job was just educating the sales team on the relevance and the power behind the different digital channels and get them on board on that. I would say that is probably one of the biggest role that we had from the very beginning.
One of the main challenges we have with the sales team is getting in front of them and showing them the importance of what these programs actually have in getting their attention.
Rodrigo: Was there a formal discussion with the sales leaders or was it something that the education happened organically through just a shift in the culture of what you guys wanted to accomplish?
Mat: It was a shift in the culture and having the digital marketing team push the agenda of ABM for digital, and just have it as one of the conversations with each of the sales leaders and their teams to continue to remind them and educate them about it. So for us, it was more organic than the educational training seminar.
Rodrigo: Was there any pushback from any of the salespeople or sales leaders about “Oh, this all feels a little too fluffy, what’s the ROI, what’s the bottomline?” Did you get any pushback or resistance?
Mat: Yes, there were different ones, and everybody has a different comfort level when it comes to this type of programs. We were finding the team or teams that wanted to test this and use those teams as our pilot basically to really build out the case for the other teams who are not as eager to try something out like this. Then, as we showed the velocity reports, increased contacts within specific accounts, that began to garner interest throughout other teams across the organization.
When we connect with sales, we understand who we are going to specifically target. Then, from the targeting understanding, we understand what channels these individuals play on and what makes the most sense for us as we build out our programs. The targeting, from sales, we also understand how to create our content — whether it was an ad, a social post, or a landing page on how we were connecting that story to them. Whether it is going to be a story around a specific company that we were wanting to target or a specific industry, and telling the story to our target audience and personas within that industry as well too.
The last but not the least, of course, making sure we had all the recording in place as we begin to launch our programs so that we have everything in step to give feedback and keep sales up to speed on the progress of each of the campaigns.
Rodrigo: Reporting is probably the most sought after topic from the audience. I believe that there is a constant tension between people who want to see early indicators of success, and then, lying indicators of Proof. How did you guys deal with that?
Mat: The way we have our marketing organization is there is either a net new lead — so you created a new lead, a new contact. But a lot of ABM accounts, at least for us, are not net new. They are more influence model. So you have an account within a specific company, and then you pull in contacts underneath that. What we will look at is has there been an increase in contacts within the specific account? Have we increased traffic to the landing page and/or to our website through the specific program and/or campaign? Have we engaged the individuals? Through social, as an example. Have there been comments, are they liking, are they sharing the content with their social networks? And then, from there, getting a little deeper as we look into the actual contacts within things like Salesforce. Are we building that out and are we seeing velocity? Leveraging things, like Bizible, to be able to tell our deals are closing faster. Are we closing the deal cycle from 4 weeks to 3 weeks? Are we seeing these individuals more interested as we are creating these programs? These are some of the metrics when we are looking at reporting, on how all of that works. Are the deals that are being closed being actually influenced by these specific campaigns when the opportunity is going through the door?
Have we engaged the individuals? Have there been comments, are they liking, are they sharing the content with their social networks?
MQLs versus SALs
Rodrigo: Just to channel of the voice of marketers I’ve spoken to, “I am Joe Smith and I work at ABC Company,” and I’m thinking, “Well, that sounds great but I’ve got to hit a quota of 1600 MQL this quarter. So how does engagement and these other things contribute or help me out? It seems like we’re just on different planets.” How does that conversation play out or was that an issue? What do you say to this person?
Mat: We’re actually held to a tighter goal here at MongoDB. One of the goals that we are actually held to is the SALs. Marketing isn’t held to MQLs; we are actually held to SALs. I think that is part of our success when we have that lock in step with the sales team to understand, “Yes, these are qualified for marketing,” but are the leads that marketing is giving to the sales team actually being accepted? For us, that actually gives a lot of success for us as an organization — to be held to SAL numbers versus MQL numbers.
Are the leads that marketing is giving to the sales team actually being accepted? … that actually gives a lot of success for us as an organization — to be held to SAL numbers versus MQL numbers.
Rodrigo: Have you ever been a part of an organization that is trying to implement ABM, but is facing some of these MQL measurement resistance?
Mat: I would say yes. A lot would come down to educating about the quality of the leads as well, and the leads might be marketing qualified but are they leads that sales is accepting? It could be due to volume. It could be due to nulls in the target accounts. So a lot was also just sitting down and letting them know that, “Hey, these are the accounts that you specifically targeted that you want us to go after.” The goal is to get more information and create more contacts within these specific accounts. So not necessarily all is really directed to MQLs per se, but really, it is the top target goal. Also, helping them understand the difference of the high level that as a marketing org, we need to create so many MQLs within this quarter. However, because we have a relationship with sales and they want to continue to grow within a specific account, pulling that out as well too.
Mat: Just a quick checklist that normally the digital marketing team here at MongoDB goes through. It is just like the life cycle that we were looking at before, but we will try to break it down into 3 to 4 talking points, which each of those areas you talk with sales and share the plan.
Identify Top Targets together. It is always that relationship that is really important. Make sure to have sales buy-in so that they also are following up. So you may get the contacts, but we don’t know sometimes sales may become busy end of quarter. You want to make sure that you have their buy-ins so that they are consistently following up with those who are coming in as they are warm and they have shown interest. Then, also make sure that you are setting up check-ins between marketing and sales as these programs are rolling out. Make sure it is set up consistently, weekly by weekly or monthly based of your organization’s structure. That way, you are consistently getting feedback from sales on the programs that you are running, and their voice is being heard, as well as you are keeping the program top of line.
When you are Targeting, make sure you are leveraging your current database as well too. There are a ton of accounts out there that people might be going after. They may be net new accounts, but the great thing about digital nowadays is you can do a lot of things like lookalike audiences. Yes, we want all of these CTOs to ABC Company. “Can you find all the ones that look like this with an X company?” So leverage the current technology to help you take it to the next level. Make sure you don’t forget to always put your tracking pixels on your site or landing pages. Leverage capabilities of ad serving platforms such as AdRoll. Then, make sure you are consistently testing. Make sure you consistently test over and over and over again.
Optimize your content for the audience. Specifically, it can give the best conversion rates and the lowest cost for acquisition. When you are creating the content in partnership with sales, make sure you are identifying the pain points for these specific users and use cases. Create targeted content that is relevant to those individuals. Build your ads based on target audiences, and then, test, test, test. For some of your targeting, you are also going to want to test content. So you are doing two types of testing at once.
Optimize your content. It can give the best conversion rates and the lowest cost for acquisition.
The last, but not the least, usually one of the most important is to do reporting. Build reporting that auto delivers leads, making sure that sales is consistently seeing the leads coming in. Place tracking pixels in your site once again. That is going to help with your reporting. Then, set up multiple touch tracking for campaigns. Multitouch is probably one of the strongest things that we have been able to do for ABM, outside of the net new. So this will help you continue to show relevance and impact to the programs that you are driving through your ABM through digital.
Attribution Used in Display Advertising
Rodrigo: What kind of attribution or influence do you give to display advertising that happens at the very top of the funnel? You are going after a new account, ABC Co. They are seeing your ads for the first time while Joe Smith at ABC Co. is browsing the internet, checking out Astros’ score. What kind of attribution are you providing there? What kind of influence is that counting if that ABC Co. is able to get signed?
Mat: There’s a lot of great technology out now. I’ll use one example — AdRoll user review through tracking. It actually allows to email capture a few who have viewed your ads online to add that as an influence or an impact or a contact for customer through the marketing system from the display marketing perspective. So that’s just one example of rolling in and adapting to new technologies and new ways of marketing, so that we are staying on top.
Rodrigo: So you’ve got this ability to do a view-through, and I do know that companies will aggregate the number of view-through conversions on contacts related to a specific account. What value do those view-through conversions ultimately have when you are looking at a report at the end of a quarter or at the end of a year? Is that carrying a lot of weight to your company when you show that, “Hey, 34% of accounts that closed were influenced at some point by display ads at the top of the funnel?”
Mat: Yes. We do a scoring here for things to be accepted. With ABM, we do a little bit differently, but if you want to look at my scoring perspective — say for example, you want to score from 1 to 3.
- You can receive 1 point for a display view-through. For example, they didn’t take any action but they saw it.
- Number 2 was they saw the ad, they went to the landing page, they came to your site, and they explored.
- Three points is what we want most and that would be they came to your page, they filled out a form, and now you have all contact record from this individual — that is in your system and they raised their hand, and showed that they have interest based on that.
So you can look at different aspects of top of funnel, middle of funnel, bottom of funnel from a marketing journey as well too and equate that to the individuals saying, “Hey, this person saw this display ad 5 times. They came to our site 3 times and they eventually filled out a form,” based off of those different touchpoints for this individual.
Rodrigo: Is that a homegrown model specific to your business or is that a sort of framework that you learned somewhere that you are applying here?
Mat: It is more of a framework that we have learned, but we have adapted it for ourselves as well too, especially as we kind of build this out in partnership with sales — what else is also most important to you. I think the most sought after component for a salesperson is they filled out a contact form and said, “I want to talk to somebody right away.” But there are those other attributes that go into making sure that these people stay throughout the life cycle.
The most sought after component for a salesperson is they filled out a contact form and said, “I want to talk to somebody right away.”
Rodrigo: . We would love to see some of the digital campaigns that you put together as a result of going through this 4-step checklist.
Mat: When we are building out the component of understanding your target audience, one of the starting points is to review your site traffic. Really understand who your current audience is, monitor organic engagement, look for online conversations, and understand channel sentiment. Before you start diving into a digital program, you have a sense of where the community or individuals live, where they engaged, and where your lows are hanging through these, as you begin to develop programs.
As an example, we are going to use target accounts through digital. Let us look at LinkedIn first because I think it is where most people go to when we are thinking of B2B. We will look at the upload list within LinkedIn. So you can take the list from your current database, accounts or contacts, and upload the list to LinkedIn. What LinkedIn does is they go through and they find individuals that are currently within that specific account and individuals that look like those contacts within that specific account. So you are getting a more defined list of individuals you are targeting and more refined as well. You can look at it through job titles, so you can really start from nowhere down to make sure you are getting the right specific person, if you are going to go from an executive level of campaign or in our case, you can go from a developer standpoint campaign. You can put in the industry as well too.
Then, we also target by the employee size of the account. We can match our current contact list to individuals that are not within that list One form that we need as an example is called a demand form. LinkedIn has now adapted the same aspect that Facebook has had for a couple of months now, which is this card that keeps the individual’s experience on the same platform. So you are not taking them out of platform as an experience, which significantly helps reduce drop-off rate. So you get this great popup that autofills for these individuals based off their Facebook and their LinkedIn information, and all the person needs to do is verify the information or making new hits that would seem fit and then submit. Then, they will email the link to the specific app that is of interest to them. We have been able to significantly reduce the drop-off rate and have a huge improvement on our conversion rates by using new technologies and new offerings like these through the platforms.
What LinkedIn does is they go through and they find individuals that are currently within that specific account and individuals that look like those contacts within that specific account. So you are getting a more defined list of individuals you are targeting and more refined as well.
Engaging Accounts Through Content
Now you have all of the targeting filled out, you have your forms filled out. You want to make sure you also obtained the right contact for those individuals, but also A/B testing at the same time. So here is just a quick example of a Facebook ad that we did, and this is the non-form fill that you desire earlier, but more like a generalized ad component that Facebook runs. We have seen great success of it too on top of the forms. Make sure the post is short and straight to the point. You are constantly A/B testing the display of an image when it comes to online or mobile marketing, as well as the eye-catching header at the bottom as well too, so you grab their attention. We are also A/B testing the landing page and the headers with a form filled as well too.
Make sure the post is short and straight to the point
Key Areas in Reports
So we will just jump in real quick to an example of an ad. Let us look at the numbers — reporting component of ABM through digital. When we are talking about that, we look at 3 key areas with our reports.
The first one is our audience and our ad performance. The Facebook, for example. When I look at the recording, I try to understand the activity on the specific ads — how they are performing and if they are performing at par, continue to test and stayg on top of that.
The second one is looking at the SALs and velocity. Make sure those reports are built out so that way, you have a tracking and you set your goals with sales as you have a conversation early on as to what you wanted to achieve. So they can see the change overtime as you are helping them achieve those goals.
And the last but not the least, the sales feedback. Again, in Salesforce, it is important to really help give that information to sales and get their feedback as they are looking at the landing pages or as an example, AdWords. When we are looking at the ad groups, the ad copy on how we are sourcing them back to the actual specific asset.
Leveraging Offline Tactics
These are just 3 categories and I am going to give you a sense of what that actually looks like.
The first is Direct Messages. I know a lot of us probably do things with events, and/or in-person type dinners, potentially email as well too. But a part of this is looking at direct messaging for social as an example — whether it is through Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, and the steps that we take here at MongoDB is not only for sales but for marketing to understand the audience, design and nurture programs based on audience info. And what I mean by that is you can use tools to create nurture tracking programs, similar as to what is with email but through Twitter. So you create those nurture drip campaigns for that specific channel as you do with email. You create engagement plan when conversion starts. So when people start to actually engage with your content, unlike email, which is an open and click do, you will mostly actually read a lot of questions — people wanting to have conversations. Make sure you set that properly, so that way, you are showing the human behind the brand. Continue to review the data for your learnings.
With the Email, make sure you are designing unique programs and content, and identify your best persona. One question I get a lot though is events. How do you leverage offline events online? What we do is we identify the individual pool being invited to an event. We upload those lists to the several channels that we talked about before from a target perspective, and continue the message pre, during and post the event. So the conversation continues online as they leave an event or are leading up to an event. We create those retargeting programs as well to continue the conversation. That way, our conversation doesn’t go dark or we don’t care from somebody either visiting our website, filling out a form, or engaging with us on social following an event.
With Email, make sure you are designing unique programs and content, and identify your best persona.
Here is an example of what that actually looks like. We have identified, we have messaged, and we have had people raise their hand and say, “Yes, I want to join your event. Thanks for letting me know.” The either channel of choice in this case is Twitter.
Rodrigo: I love the very tactical point of view you gave us there, especially knowing that event marketing can be its own career path, its own set of skills and knowledge to do it correctly. It is great to get at least the kind of 80% of the tactic in place for companies or teams, who perhaps, don’t have the luxury to hire a specialist for that role.
What is Interesting about ABM?
Mat: I think the most interesting thing that I have learned is constantly test, look for new innovative ways, and always be open to new technologies to help you learn and leverage the trends that are happening. Because things are changing daily, and moving very, very quickly, and now as marketers, currently, we have to be able to stay up with those trends and leverage with those trends.
…constantly test, look for new innovative ways, and always be open to new technologies to help you learn and leverage the trends that are happening.
Rodrigo: Awesome. Thank you for that, and again, thank you for your time today, sharing your wisdom and experience here. We call it a real life ABM campaign. A lot of people today, as we all know, are in the early stages of researching their own implementations, and so it is always great to hear from someone in the battlefield who has real scars and successes from their own campaigns. So thank you again for your time. If you have anything to close us out with, please let us know. If not, join us next time as we interview more B2B marketers and learn from their ABM campaigns.
Have you read the ABM Playbook? Download and read the definitive guide to nailing your account-based marketing strategy. No fluff, just good stuff.