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ABM + Inbound: Q&A with Dan Tyre

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With the stratospheric rise of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) in recent years, business marketers are actively exploring how this targeted approach pairs with other sales and marketing initiatives, especially inbound marketing. At first blush, these two appear incompatible, with ABM focusing on companies and inbound targeting the individual.  But the belief you must choose between one or the other is a mistake – these strategies share several core principles and have much more in common than you’d think. Employed together, ABM + Inbound have the power to deliver an indomitable GTM strategy.

A longtime leader in the B2B marketing space, ANA Phoenix is pleased to welcome Hubspot’s Dan Tyre to discuss the convergence of ABM + Inbound. Dan joined HubSpot as a member of the original team in May 2007, and has led the recruiting, training, and growth of HubSpot sales team ever since. He’s an authority on inbound marketing and sales, and a regular speaker, writer, and coach to those who yearn for inbound success.

Below, Dan gives a preview of what we can expect from his presentation on September 18th, including the new rules of B2B marketing, advice for those just getting started and best practices to keep in mind along the way.

Finish this sentence: ABM + Inbound is the future of B2B marketing because…

Marketing is in the midst of a revolution and many of the old rules don’t apply. In fact, there are no rules. It’s a street fight. The good news is that unlike the last 50 years, marketers have the tools to show the value of their hard work. The marketing department used to be a built-in excuse for the sales organization, but today marketers are at the forefront of revenue generation for virtually every company. In the old days (back in 2016) you could market and sell to everyone.

Today the “riches are in the niches,” meaning today’s buyer has higher expectations for a partner understanding their business, diving into their business problems and accelerating the process of solving their business pain. The ABM and Inbound methodologies both focus on a targeted segment and delivering the right information at the right time.

In what ways are ABM + Inbound stronger together?

The general definition of inbound is to encourage potential customers coming to your website and taking action as the way to start the conversation, where ABM suggests that you use email and workflows to start the process. In reality, in today’s omni-channel, instant gratification, always on world, you really should do both. The method of the first interaction is much less important than targeting the right accounts and providing ways to help.

What is the greatest barrier for marketers when it comes to implementing an ABM + Inbound strategy?

It’s hard. You have to have to really understand your personas, you have to produce 10x the content, you have to originally guess and then measure where people are in the buyers journey and then you have to execute flawlessly or people get annoyed. In the old days (again, back in 2016) it was just an email. Today, the wrong message to the wrong person at the wrong time, or too many emails overall, creates anxiety or animosity that can impact your brand.

This sounds like it could require a robust tech stack. At a high level, what tools would marketing and sales need to have as a foundation?

I am kind of partial to HubSpot (full disclosure: I work for HubSpot and have been part of the Inbound Revolution for 12 years), but basically you need a modern CRM to keep track of companies and contacts (HubSpot provides one free). You need marketing automation software and then you have to practice Smarketing – sales and marketing alignment – which has been proven to be hard.

Would any aspects of Inbound and ABM be abandoned by combining the two strategies?

I don’t think so. I am not a purist that insists that one process is the best process. We like to test everything and go with the option that gets the better results. If you have a good fit customer, and you are:

  1. Treating them like a human being
  2. Offering to help
  3. Adding value from the first interaction, then it’s all the same.

What will have to change between how marketing and sales work together for ABM + Inbound to work successfully? 

An acknowledgement that there is joint ownership of the client. The marketing organization owns all the targeted clients in the AWARENESS stage. They own the leads, the interactions, the message and the responsibility to determine 1.) good fit and 2.) the incentive to move to the CONSIDERATION stage. That shared responsibility is hard for a lot of sales people to understand and internalize. Sales people only work deals in the CONSIDERATION or DECISION stage and have to trust that the marketing organization is nurturing the right type of clients with the right information. But when a company moves to CONSIDERATION, a salesperson has to have immediate access to all the data of what the clients wants to meet that need.

For marketing teams looking to implement this strategy, what would be their first step?  

Read this blog article and then start a campaign with a small target segment to get some real life experience.

Lastly, you just wrote a book – congrats! What can readers expect to learn from it?

Yes, I did. Inbound Organization is about how to build and strengthen your company’s future using inbound principles and how to grow better. After speaking for years to hundreds of thousands of people, lots of people want to transition to inbound but don’t know how to get organizational consensus, take the first steps and get started. This book helps them do that.

I was lucky enough to work with Todd Hockenberry, the best co-author in the history of books, who is an expert at applying inbound to industrial companies worldwide. There are tons of examples, an assessment of how ready you are and lots of super great stories.