Lessons learned while implementing Account Based Marketing at Spotr

Account Based Marketing | Spotr x RocketX

 

In this month's xCollective podcast Beer Zandt spoke to Nadine van der Wal, Head of Growth at Spotr. An AI-powered building inspection platform that has grown from an innovative idea to a fast-growing scale-up. Their growth journey is impressive and, with Account Based Marketing at the core of their growth strategy, a very well planned growth journey.

We asked Nadine to tell us more about their transformation and lessons learned while implementing this highly targeted approach.


Complex decision-making units and long sales cycles

It all started with a problem, a problem all housing associations across the globe deal with: high inspection costs and no other way to track maintenance on their buildings. To solve this challenge Spotr developed sensors that could for example, keep track of the condition of the wood and window frames. But as it goes for many scale-ups, this wasn’t the golden goose, they needed to find a different way to track the condition of buildings. And after iterating twice, they did! “Eventually the founders realized that there are already so many great image and data sources available, for example Satellite Street View and Lidar, there’s no need to create our own sources. They ‘only’ needed to develop an algorithm to combining all these sources. And they did!” Nadine tells us.

Making the product less complex and more scalable wasn’t the only challenge they had to overcome. Spotr focuses on enterprise companies with large real estate portfolios of more than 5,000 units under management. Large companies with complex decision-making units scattered across different geographies and departments. As a result, the company’s deal values are high (€100K+) but deal cycles can take up to a year.

Spotr wanted to direct their marketing efforts to those accounts where they anticipated the highest potential and readiness to buy. As their target market is so well-defined and the product needs a lot of education, Nadine and the team decided that the best way to go was to implement Account Based Marketing as their main strategy. And that’s where we came in, helping Spotr implement our 5-step ABM approach: 

1. Scope your Ideal Customer Profile
2. Create your Target Account List
3. Determine Tiers
4. Create the Content Framework
5. Engage across the right channels

Defining your target accounts and determining tiers

To get everyone in the organisation on the same page, you need to start by aligning your goals by focussing everyone on an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP): an agreed description of the perfect customer. Fortunately at Spotr that was something they already had in place. “We already defined a clear ICP, housing associations in the Netherlands. From those 300 associations we created our top 35. While creating this list we didn’t only look at the portfolio size but also, if we were already in contact, knew the right people, and even if they were ready for our product since it’s relatively innovative.” Nadine says.

After defining your target accounts it’s all about prioritizing. Together with Spotr we divided the list of 35 target accounts into three categories, or as we like to call them, “tiers”. Every tier has a different priority - tier 1 being their most important target accounts and tier 3 a nice ‘bonus’ but not the main focus. 


Defining your target accounts

To get everyone in the organisation in the same direction you need to start by aligning your goals, by focussing everyone on an Ideal Customer Profile: an agreed description of the perfect customer. Fortunately at Spotr that was something they already had in place. “We already defined a clear ICP, housing associations in the Netherlands. From those 300 associations we created our top 35. While creating this list we didn’t only look at the portfolio size but also, if we’re already in contact, knew the right people, and even if they were ready for our product since it’s relatively innovative.” Nadine says.

After defining your target accounts it’s all about prioritizing, Nadine tells us. “Within that list of 35 target accounts we made three categories, or as we like to call them tiers. Where every tier has a different priority, from tier 1 as our most important target accounts to tier 3 a nice ‘bonus’ but not the main focus.”


Structure your content with a content framework

As Account Based Marketing is a one-to-one approach from the start, it’s important to have a good understanding of what your target accounts need to progress through the funnel and plot this in your content framework. This can only be done if you have a clear understanding of your customer journey. So, together with Spotr we started by mapping their customer journey. Defining what content was needed in every phase of the funnel, varying between personal, topical, industry and generic content.




Consistent engagement across the entire funnel

Besides defining the right content for your target accounts, it’s imperative to communicate this message via the right channels in order to deliver a coordinated account-based experience. At RocketX we say that it takes 7 to 8 touchpoints to get the conversation started. That means 7 to 8 different messages across different channels. Now you probably understand why you need a content framework.



Alignment between marketing & sales at scale

ABM is a great tactic to align marketing & sales, as this approach can only be successful if there’s collaboration between the two. At RocketX we always jokingly say, “ABM should have been called Account Based Marketing & Sales (ABMS)”. Because in the end marketing & sales ‘share’ the same funnel, and we believe that this alignment is at the forefront of improving conversion rates and customer retention. Where marketing plays the leading role in the awareness phase, sales  becomes increasingly important during the journey from the consideration phase onward.

Nadine understands the importance of this alignment, and that it’s not just about ‘handing over’ the lead from marketing to sales, it’s about being aligned during the entire journey. “If sales is working on a certain account, and they notice they’re really interested in a specific topic, marketing blasts an article on this subject specifically to this target account.” Nadine shares.

Aligning sales and marketing is easier said than done. It takes a bit of time to set it up and get the process rolling. Although, once it’s ‘on’, it’s super effective. So, where to start? Start working together in sprints as one commercial team and meet up on a regular basis, this will help you manage the activities better and keep all eyes on the same page. Dividing the work in smaller chunks also makes it easier to iterate along the way, not only when the demand of the end customer is changing but also to experiment with your approach.

At Spotr they take a lot of time for these sprint meetings. “We take an hour to review the sprint to really understand what happened, what went well and what needs improvement. Followed by half an hour to align the to-do’s for the upcoming sprint. And we always end by saying, “if you see opportunities, let us know! Because in the end, it always boils down to knowing your customer, sales is out there, the eyes and ears, and that's super valid.””

 

 

Last learnings when it comes to Account Based Marketing

For those companies that want to start implementing highly targeted approach, Nadine definitely has some tips:

 

Don’t just start. You first need to understand if this strategy is a good fit for your company, and think about how you can validate this. “For us the signs are promising, we’re getting in high quality leads, sales and marketing are better aligned, and we are better aware of where our priorities lie. But what works for us doesn't necessarily work for everyone.” Nadine points out.


Understand your key metrics. One of the lessons Nadine learned is how important it is to understand your indicator metrics, and not just the ones that say something about your conversion. “Understand what engagement from your target accounts looks like, and know when are they ready to buy. Is website visits the right metric to measure the engagement of our audience or are they more engaged when they download content etc.? But remember that you’ll probably never find the full answer, because it’s an ever-changing journey.


Want to learn more about account based marketing and Nadine’s journey at Spotr ? Listen to the full story on Spotify, and keep an eye on our website - we’re posting a four-part series about account based marketing soon!


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