As an account-based marketer, you can impact growth significantly. Our VP of Marketing, Lorena Morales, sat down with Daniel Day, VP Marketing at Rollbar (formerly Sr. Director, ABM at Snowflake), to get his best strategies for aligning with sales, establishing the right metrics, and making realistic revenue predictions. 

The Best ABM Campaign You Ever Launched

Daniel Day: 
The thing I’m most proud of at this point in my career is the ABM program that we put in place at Snowflake. It wasn’t one single campaign, it was hundreds, but my favorite part about it is that they all built on each other. 
When you’re targeting individual companies, you’re trying to think about the value of your content and the business value your company is trying to provide. 
Every single campaign got better and more specific and closer to our customers. So maybe the very first one that we launched and being able to see how we replicated and improved upon it for more than three years, but the basic premise of it never changed.


Growth Strategies: Lead Gen vs. Demand Gen

Daniel Day: 

It’s easy for a marketer to come in and start thinking about people. That’s something they’ve been doing for years. It’s easy to be able to focus on leads. 

Having had the opportunity to move more broadly into demand generation, and thinking about the marketing function more broadly, even I’m going back and rethinking my account-based approach. Not to focus on leads but to think of these things more holistically.

How do you prove the value of marketing? Not only to your sales counterparts but to your leadership team as well? It’s almost back to square one. Where you’re looking at people, and you’re looking at leads, website visitors, net new names, MQLs, all these dirty words I’ve spent the last three or four years running as far away from as I could. 

But now, once you really understand an account-based ethos of the sales folks and the team you’re working with, then you can go back and revisit some of these things with the correct lens. So I guess as I grow into my middle age here in my marketing career, I say,Okay, maybe what was old is new again.”


Go Nimbly Discusses: 

Jen Igartua, CSO: 
ABM gives us the framework to personalize our content to target accounts, but the challenge is in achieving that while also staying human. I also love calling vanity metrics,dirty words.” It’s hard to break silo thinking when you’ve spent so long defending and protecting your team. You have to fight the urge to create vanity metrics and gain insights instead.
Kristi Park, Content Manager: 
As a marketer, you can do all this work that you think is super creative and great, but if it doesn’t ultimately help generate pipeline or influence revenue, it’s kind of like a tree falling in a forest when no one’s around. I think the idea of looking at your output through the correct lens is spot-on; as someone interested in a product, is this content or this interaction providing value? It’s one of those hard-to-swallow truths.  


Letting Go of Vanity Metrics 

Daniel Day: 
Speaking of vanity metrics and kind of letting go of the past, you never know who you’re working with or what kind of exposure that they’ve had to demand generation. So these things can be an entree into the world. 
I recently stood up a very sophisticated campaign responder-based pipeline attribution reporting, which I think takes marketers well beyond just net new names. And MQLs and other nebulous things people can create to show the worth of marketing and tie individual campaigns, pieces of content, or calls to action to the marketing touches for pipeline generation, opportunity creation, or closed-won revenue. 

But now, as marketers and demand generators become more sophisticated and look to up-level their value throughout the organization, it’s essential to know your audience. It’s really important to be an educator in your organization.


Go Nimbly Discusses: 

Jen: This is a perfect depiction of Silo Syndrome; the need to show your worth as a team instead of the need to create impact for the business as a whole. 
Kristi: It’s one of those things that you initially think is obvious—prioritizing revenue impact over internal pats on the back—but it’s such a hard mentality to break. We’re used to working closely with our team and looking at wins from that team perspective instead of what that success means in terms of pushing the business towards its revenue goals. Definitely a huge reason breaking silos is so important.  
Jen: Knowing your business and what’s a momentum metric vs. a vanity metric is critical. For example, open rate can be a vanity metric for a B2B organization with a long sales cycle. But if your product is an inexpensive impulse buy, open rate is likely a momentum metric.

Kristi: I remember when the difference really clicked for me, which was during one of our all-hands meetings about 3VC. The key is to ask yourself whether a given metric is likely to lead to revenue. If the answer is no, then it’s a vanity metric. 


How Can Marketers Achieve Alignment?


Daniel Day: 
I was speaking about this the other day, and I think people thought it was obvious, but so many demand generators and marketers fail at it. 

You have to build a relationship and a partnership with your sales counterparts. That way, you earn the trust, respect, and credibility to be able to educate.

So just because you know something or think you know something, there’s a human piece of it. You need that to educate and build the trust and respect necessary to be able to move beyond these things.


It’s great to be able to define them, to measure them. But to really earn respect and trust…those things take time and investment. It takes time for people to understand that marketers and demand generators come from a place of credibility. 


Go Nimbly Discusses: 

Jen: You need to build rapport and trust with your counterparts. One way to do that is by creating certainty. Does everyone on the GTM team know what we’re working on and why?


Kristi: This is something I learned from some of your recent speaking engagements, Jen—the importance of knowing what you don’t know and having an understanding of what pieces of the puzzle are missing along the customer journey. Once you know that, that shared goal becomes much more defined. 


Credibility, Metrics, and Compensation


Daniel Day:
One of the things we did at Snowflake was to adjust our key metrics. For insights like engagement, we moved beyond net new names and marketing qualified leads. Instead, we focused on sales and marketing engagement for people and companies. 

We never tied any of our variable compensation or bonuses or anything of that nature to our metrics. Not because we didn’t want to be responsible for the success of those things, but because we really wanted those metrics, those key indicators, for people to think that there was credibility behind them. 

As marketers, when you own these things, you own their definitions. You could make yourselves responsible for them and tie some monetary incentive to them, versus really thinking about your value as marketers. Your value is in giving insights for the broader go-to-market team to prioritize, to be more focused in their efforts, and to build that credibility.


Go Nimbly Discusses: 


Jen:  I don’t think it’s necessarily about removing quotas, but about establishing the types of quotas that create your desired behavior. For example, asking SDRs just to book meetings isn’t going to help build the habit of booking good meetings that actually convert.

 Kristi: I agree. I think it’s more that the termquota” has taken on the wrong meaning in many situations. The implication ishit this arbitrary number; otherwise, you’ve failed,” which isn’t helping anyone get better, nor is it making impact for the business. Your quotas need to have the added context of why that’s the number and what the goal is beyond justI booked this many meetings.” 


Dan Reed, AE: Any target or quota needs to have some sort of impartial qualification process to be real. You’ll invariably get padding if the person responsible for the target is also the person determining whether they hit their target.



Making Growth Predictions


Daniel Day:

It’s not just about account-based marketing or taking a data-driven approach, especially in the start-up world. Your executive team has made commitments on growth and obviously wants to obtain or, hopefully, surpass them. 

So it’s about taking an account-based approach. You’re not trying to boil the ocean. You’re able to understand your customers or prospective customers with real specificity. Understand what business challenges those companies are facing, the value of the product or service you’re selling. Make sure the people responsible for driving revenue within those particular deals understand those things. 

I think demand generators and account-based marketers can help by making sure the accounts the sales organization is selling to are the ones that are most likely to purchase from you and purchase a lot from you. 

It’s about being able to understand the market you have in front of you and having the resources to go out and achieve those things. When you tie those things together, the focus, the prioritization, and then being able to go deep into each one of those accounts, that’s what allows you to have a better understanding of your forecast. It helps you to have a better understanding of exactly where you’re going.

Not that there’s no risk involved or that you have a crystal ball, but you’ve done the diligence both on the marketing and sales side. That allows you to call your number with credibility and take responsibility for it. 


Go Nimbly Discusses:

Jen: To me, this is the most important nut to crack for any team. How do you prioritize and focus on the right work? In the case of ABM, that means going after the right accounts. RevOps is a solution to fix this. Because we’re going to be metrics-driven, we’re going to be more aligned as a team, we’re going to define our roadmap based on known customer gaps. All these things lead us to prioritize and focus on the right work.


Understanding Your Customer Base

Daniel Day: 

There are a couple of different ways you can start. Of course, there are things that you can do internally or software that can help, but the basic premise is to either have a well-understood customer base. So that is not thousands of customers, right? It’s 50 to 100 customers, to where you can start making sense of the market or segmentation. 

You can start doing some analysis of how these companies are similar either based on revenue, vertical, technology profile, hiring information, or a hundred other pieces of information. Start to focus on what makes your customers similar. 

Whatever you come up with has to be easily understandable and digestible. But if you’re at the spot where your customer base is not well understood, partnering very closely with those experienced sales leaders within your organization to understand their process for prospecting best fit accounts can help. 

One size doesn’t fit all, and you need to be willing to evolve on these things continuously. It’s not like a one-time, set-it-and-forget-it thing, where you then make that the basis for everything going forward. It’s something you need to revisit.

If you have the resources to revisit every month or so, great. If not, it needs to be something that you review at least quarterly to make sure that your assumptions are right, and include any additional information you’ve gotten.


Editor’s Note: Part II Highlights coming soon!