In part two of our interview with Daniel Day, we asked him what advice he would give to companies looking to implement ABM or account-based strategy. His experience in account-based growth made for some invaluable wisdom around the importance of alignment, relationship-building, and more.

 

 

Account-Based Marketing: How Do You Start?

Daniel Day: 
Make sure there’s alignment within the organization. I hear a lot of people say, “Somebody told me to do ABM,” or “We’re going to do ABM,” and the first thing I ask is whether the sales team knows about it. 
 
Have you ever talked to them? Are you talking about the same things? This is a leadership thing. So you need to think it out. Do your homework. Make the connections necessary to be successful and then build an ABM strategy. 
 
You have to have an account-based seller, right? I’m not saying your entire company is account-based or that there’s perfect alignment at the top, but you have to find at least one salesperson that’s willing to take your account-based approach.
 
That’s my first step. To find that alignment, even if it’s with one person. You have to decide on a company or a list of companies that you’re going to target. So when I hear that supposedly account-based marketers and salespeople don’t even agree on their list of target accounts, that’s not account-based strategy. That’s account-based marketing. 
 
The marketers decided that no matter what, they know better than anyone else within the organization. Even if that alignment doesn’t exist, they’re just going to keep going. And that’s not in line with the ethos or the philosophy of account-based. So you have to have alignment, you have to agree on the single company or the few companies that you’re going to go after. 
 

And then, I think the next step is to decide what those key success metrics are going to be. How are you going to say that this was a successful endeavor or not? 

 

Go Nimbly Discusses: Implementing ABM

 

Kristi Park, Content Manager: 
I think that distinction between ABM and a more holistic account-based strategy is really important here. It’s one thing for Marketing to decide they’re going to tailor their approach to the account level or contact level, but that momentum will be lost almost immediately if your Sales team isn’t ready or able to build on it. 
 
Lorena Morales. VP of Marketing. 

New data points on the topics that your accounts care about can absolutely make a difference in the campaigns you run. Lean on those personal connections to get a foot in the door with the accounts you care about. ALWAYS remember, though, that ABM is a lot about patience and understanding that you will never get to all of your tiered accounts- just to those that you know are most ready to buy into your product or service. 

 


ABM: Lessons Learned

Daniel Day:

Some of the things that we started off doing [at Snowflake] were really bold of us. We had the best of intentions and were trying to provide a unique value to the companies where we were trying to drive awareness and generate demand. 

So we thought we would slap their company logo on everything: T-shirts, bumper stickers, display ads, landing pages. And especially if you’re segmenting for legal people or doing segmentation for marketing people and owner of brands, people really take offense to those things. So, cease and desist letters by the dozens. To the point where our CEO would walk past [my] desk, and say,Daniel, have you seen such and such from such and such company?” And I said,Yeah.” And he said,I thought you were supposed to make our prospective customers happy, not pissed off.”


So it was about being more nuanced over time. Just their company name plus Snowflake. And it was that affiliation where somebody would see it and say,
We don’t work with them. We’ve never worked with them.” It was about finding that fine line between being able to do this almost creepy segmentation and targeting to be able to get your message in front of the right people at the right time.

 It’s just finding that nuance in that space. Not that you’ll never piss off one of your prospective customers. But 99% of the time, you’re still having the impact that you want to have as an account-based marketer. 

 

Go Nimbly Discusses: Being Bold and Making an Impact

Kristi:

From a content perspective, figuring out the best way to establish a connection with the contacts you’re targeting is tricky. At first, it was tempting to lean into the similarities between our products or go-to-market approach, but that felt inauthentic–like grasping at straws. Once we started really diving into the operational needs of target companies, it became much more clear where those natural connections were and how to use them to build a rapport. 

 


How Do You Measure ABM Success?

 

Daniel Day:

The things we looked at in our program at Snowflake, and things that I’m rethinking and trying to add on now, are things like driving engagement within key personas and key accounts. Not every lead or contact is equal. So when you’re driving engagement with the right people, at the right time, being able to measure that is important. Thinking about the number of people you’re reaching relative to the size of the company, that impression share, and that level of awareness within an account is important. 

 

Being able to enumerate those things in such a way that you can actually measure the impact of your account-based marketing or demand gen efforts against the creation of pipeline. Hopefully through accelerating that deal and helping your counterparts to get that deal over the line to actually drive revenue in a repeatable way for your organization. Those are the things that I think are really important. 

 

So for me, it was all about building relationships, collecting that data, making it available in such a way that it would be meaningful and actionable for my counterparts in sales. It’s a fine line between focusing on that relationship and getting to the point where you have to enumerate those things. So that’s where I’m at now: focusing, being an engine for insight and analysis and prioritization and making that partnership and helping people to be successful. But also thinking a little more broadly about how to continue to enumerate that success and be able to measure it and share it throughout the organization.

 

Go Nimbly Discusses: Measuring Success

Lorena: 
This ties directly to what we do with revenue operations. It’s so hard to measure those things sometimes, especially with new connections and new conversations that you’re having. So we pretty much do the same at Go Nimbly, where we use our 3VC model, which is volume, value, and velocity. 

 

I think that value is exactly what you are touching on; how valuable is that relationship, and when are you going to have to prove that value? Is it going to be six months from now? Is it going to be in a year? Does it have to do with your sales cycle length, or does it have to do with your ACV because that connection was more relevant or was a decision-maker, etc.?

 


The Importance of Relationship-Building 

 

Daniel Day:

I’ve been in demand generation now for close to ten years. Nine or ten years that I’ve been mostly in tech and startups, seeing what happens with the challenges of being misaligned as a demand gen marketer. Sometimes demand generation people are a different breed. I sometimes think if we could be salespeople and be out on the front line and be having those conversations and discovery calls, we would. But we can’t, so we’re demand gen marketers. 

 

And the same thing can be said for successful sales folk. They wouldn’t be successful doing demand gen. It’s a different kind of approach, but it’s about breaking out of those things and not being removed from the process. Where there’s a natural handoff, you have some kind of vanity metric, like an MQL. And you’re throwing it over the fence, and you never see it again. It just becomes a data point in Salesforce.

I think the thing I’ve been able to do is to ask,Who cares?” Find out who cares and don’t be afraid to find out people’s real reactions, or lack of understanding of what you do. It’s been my good fortune to be able to ask those questions in a way that really drives it towards being better together. 

 

I think that’s where those relationships get built and where that alignment grows. So even now that I’ve left Snowflake, I’ve been able to follow my successful sales counterparts to new opportunities and new challenges for all of us. Those relationships permeate your organization, but they also follow you throughout your career. 

 

Take the chance to really get to know people, their challenges, and what they’re focused on and use that to make yourself a better demand generator. Tie yourself to the things that people really care about.

 

Go Nimbly Discusses: Relationship-Building

Kristi: 
The most impressive marketers and sales reps I’ve seen are the ones who know how to build relationships on a strong foundation. We’ve been talking a lot internally about building rapport using the SCALE model, and I think it’s one of my favorite frameworks because of how versatile it is. It focuses on the psychology of rapport-building from a human perspective rather than being just a sales or marketing trick.  
 

Editor’s Note: This interview was edited for clarity and context.