ABM sounds pretty daunting to most…particularly if you’re a start up. So, we sat down with “ABM Ninja” Stephanie Cox to learn how the pros do it. We also really wanted to hear the story behind Lumavate using baseball cards in one of their most successful ABM campaigns.
Stephanie is the VP of Sales and Marketing at Lumavate. Lumavate helps marketers to build apps quickly – no code required.
Why choose ABM Marketing?
Having used ABM for most of her career (even before it was known as ABM) Stephanie says that it works for B2B sales because B2B marketers should be focusing on their ICP and not trying to sell to everyone.
She attributes Lumavate’s typical 35% ABM conversion to meeting rate, in part, to the way that they personalise their outreach. It’s not what everyone else is doing and that’s what gets them the all important meeting.
A crucial and unique aspect of that outreach is the use of personalised video – the key to Lumavate’s success in terms of converting their target account list into qualified opportunities. Over 90% of their initial meetings turn into qualified opportunities.
Start with what you already know
With each ABM campaign, Lumavate looks to their knowledge of existing customers in the same space as the campaign prospects.
It was starting there that contributed to their successful baseball card campaign. Stephanie says:
“We wanted to go after more sporting venues. We really focused on how to replicate existing use cases for other teams.
We started by really looking at who the big players were. There was lots of Googling and we created a list of all the different team types.
We looked at what the NFL was doing, NHL, Major League Soccer and whittled it down to which groups would make sense for us. Then we went after all the different accounts.
Our goal was to help source qualified marketing meetings. The goal in terms of ABM is that after an initial meeting, sales says ‘there’s a real opportunity here’.”
Assign Budget to the ABM Campaign
Lumavate didn’t have a huge budget to spend besides internal time and resources. So, they turned their focus to what would be most impactful and came up with a really creative, low cost, Direct Mail campaign.
“We decided to do something fun. We noticed during our research that a lot of people that we’d be reaching out to were in their mid 30’s to 40’s and grew up during the 80’s when baseball cards were really hot. So, we created baseball cards for different use cases – how they could use our platform. We included players stats and had them printed just like real baseball cards – including a foil envelope. We sent them out with Big League Chew Gum. The overall cost was something like $6.00
It was super creative and also resonated with the demographic of who we were going after and because they’re also sporting venues – it was kind of cool.
We didn’t use a ton of budget there but it was still super impactful.”
Not only had Lumavate created a truly unique ABM campaign on a low budget, but that campaign really resonated with its recipients.
Identify the most likely qualified opportunities
Lumavate waited until the third outreach before they sent the baseball cards. In this way they had whittled down their prospects so that cards were going to the people most likely to become qualified opportunities.
“ Very few people respond to the first contact. The second outreach is a personalised video for every single contact we reach out to. We try to find one to two things specifically about them and why we’re reaching out. We add those specific things to the more boiler-plate content for every video. We see a large number of conversions from our videos.
By the time we get to the third outreach with Direct Mail, we’ve typically cut 30%-40% of the list of contacts. Those left get the Direct Mail. That helps us reduce cost. Of, say, 300 initial contacts, we might only end up sending it to 200 people because we have been able to clean up the list in the first two rounds.”
Plan the ABM campaign timeline
Lumavate begins stimulating brand awareness about six weeks before they launch a campaign. They work with a combination of brand awareness ads and LinkedIn targeting. This is a low cost approach and Stephanie doesn’t expect any conversions.The purpose of this phase is about getting the name in front of prospects so that they’ve heard of or see Lumavate before the campaign starts.
Their campaign process usually looks like this:
- If the prospect can’t be reached leave voicemail talking about the video that they are going to send them
- About five days later send a personalized video.
- 2-3 days later follow up if the video hasn’t been watched e.g. “hey, just shoving this up to the top of your inbox”
- 4 days later drop the direct mail and send a “YouTube unboxing video”
- SDR’s will call once the direct mail has arrived (timing depends on the size of the organization and how quickly the post is likely to get to them)
- 3-4 further outreaches after the direct mail has arrived
- Switch to sharing useful resources to position Lumavate as the resource for the prospect
- If a prospect has engaged highly with emails and visited the website, send a handwritten note with a low-cost incentive – like stickers
- Following this last attempt to convert, switch to a nurture track that sends more content every two weeks for the next two months
- Switch to a standard nurture track
Lumavate didn’t stop at sending highly personalized video and direct mail. They further enhanced strategy what Stephanie calls ‘The YouTube unboxing strategy’:
“The YouTube unboxing strategy creates this really cool “waiting for it effect”.
The day we drop the direct mail in the mail we’ll send them an email with a video that says “hey something’s headed your way” including a video of our SDR opening the box that they’re going to get and showing them what’s inside. We will have people that are literally waiting to get this box of this item even though it’s only worth a couple of dollars. They’re contacting us and saying ‘oh I haven’t seen it yet’ or ‘oh I think you may have had our address wrong, can you ship me a new one?’
Stephanie says that the majority of the conversions to meetings happened as a result of the video and the direct mail – the two most personalised elements of the ABM campaign.
How personalized should a personalized video be?
We were really intrigued by Lumavate’s use of personalised video, so we asked Stephanie how personalised the videos are.
Having tested both tailored to the company and tailored to the individual, Stephanie has shown that ABM campaigns using video are more effective if personalised to the actual individual. She stresses:
“If you are wanting someone to watch the video, make the extra effort.”
This is where the whiteboard comes in. Lumavate typically adds the individual’s name to a whiteboard and collects information about what products, sports teams etc they like. Stephanie acknowledges that there is a fine line between creepy and cool though! Know enough information about someone that they know you’ve done your homework. Don’t leave them wondering “why do you know so much about me?”.
What Stephanie loves about video is that it creates a different level of personalisation:
“Anyone can send you a video specific to your company but it’s very different if I send you a video and the first things I say was ‘hey I noticed in this LinkedIn post you wrote last week, it said this, that’s a really interesting concept’ – I’d love to talk to you more about that. Or ‘hey I watched this speech that you did at this digital marketing conference and this is the two takeaways I got from it.’
Going beyond ‘hey I noticed you went to this School’ or ‘we know the same people’ is very specific and clear that I’ve dug into who you are. I know something that’s unique about you and I really want to have a conversation with you.
These little things make it very clear that I am not trying to just get a meeting with the company. I’m trying to get a meeting with you. It feels really special when someone doesn’t want to talk to your company, they want to talk specifically to you at your company.”
What’s really interesting about the personalised videos is that Lumavate sends one video to one individual and then they will notice a hundred views of it. The recipient is not watching it a hundred times. They have forwarded it to other people, it’s going ‘office viral’. Stephanie has lost count of the number of times that prospects tell her they have been asking their own sales teams why they aren’t doing the same!
A successful ABM doesn’t require heavy investment
With ABM there’s often a misconception that it needs to be a “bloated tech stack” and very expensive. Lumavate’s baseball card campaign created a meaningful impact and shows just how much is possible with a small budget. They didn’t invest heavily in ads or new tech.
In addition to the baseball cards, Lumavate:
- Spent a couple hundred dollars per campaign for brand awareness.
- Personalised their email signature banners to the target company.
- Matched the theme of the direct mail with LinkedIn ad and their email signatures.
There was no huge financial investment. Lumavate were simply strategic about the timeframe so, to their prospects, it felt like they were everywhere – and that’s what the prospects were actually telling them.
Where Lumavate stood out was in the impact of creative direct mail. No one else was doing what Lumavate was doing. Even Stephanie was blown away by the impact that the baseball campaign had. As a result, when planning new direct mail campaigns, Lumavate always tries to find ways to send something that their prospects have never received before – and something that they would actually use.
“It doesn’t matter what money you can spend. What really matters is the creativity behind it and whether or not someone’s going to get it and say: “Alright, they’ve earned 30 minutes of my time”. Because that’s what we’re trying to do – to get 30 minutes of your time.”Stephanie Cox, Lumavate