Marketing TechnologyData & AnalyticsTerminus co-founder explains why ABM is a B2B strategy, not a tool

Terminus co-founder explains why ABM is a B2B strategy, not a tool

We spoke with Terminus co-founder Sangram Vajre to learn more about the platform and how an ABM approach is effective at reaching B2B buyers.

30-second summary:

  • Terminus is an award-winning account-based marketing (ABM) platform aimed at helping B2B marketers reach target accounts more efficiently and effectively.
  • The platform, self-described as “all-in-one account-based marketing software” combines first and third-party data to help B2B companies target in-market accounts, manage audiences, and orchestrate marketing campaigns.
  • With ABM, the goal isn’t to obtain more leads, but to be smarter about targeting the right prospects and nurturing those prospects throughout the sales funnel.
  • Terminus developed a TEAM framework that includes five elements—target, engage, activate and measure (TEAM) which looks at ABM as a B2B strategy, not a tool.
  • In 2018, Terminus acquired a company called Brightfunnel, a tool that measures marketing’s impact throughout the sales funnel.
  • Meaningful ABM metrics are focused on business outcomes—improved acquisition, speeding up pipeline velocity, and expansion of existing accounts.

Founded in 2014, by Eric Spett, Eric Vass, and Sangram Vajre, Terminus is a key player in the ABM space. Clients include top brands like 3M, WP Engine, Glassdoor, and Dun & Bradstreet.

We spoke with Sangram Vajre, one of Terminus’ three co-founders, to learn more about the platform and how an ABM approach is effective at reaching B2B buyers in a cluttered martech environment.

ABMSource: Terminus

Vajre wrote the book on ABM

Prior to co-founding Terminus, Sangram Vajre was the Head of Marketing at Pardot. During his tenure there, Pardot was acquired by ExactTarget in 2012 and, subsequently, ExactTarget was acquired by Salesforce in 2013.

Says Vajre, “I’ve written two books on account-based marketing. The first was published in 2016. Then, last year, another of Terminus’ founders, Eric Spett, and myself published our second book, ABM is B2B.” ABMAccount-based marketing evolved from earlier technologies including email marketing, and automation tools such as Pardot, Eloqua and Marketo. Then, around 2010, predictive marketing started to take root.

“Predictive marketing helped us understand which leads to go after, so that we didn’t have to give every single lead to the sales team,” explained Vajre. “We founded Terminus in 2015 based on the statistic that less than 1% of the leads were turning to customers. We thought there had to be a better way to drive business outcomes than just focusing on leads.”

Most companies look at lead generation as the number one way to grow their business without realizing that less than 1% of their leads become customers. Terminus’ core service helps marketers deliver business outcomes by proactively targeting and engaging best-fit accounts.

The importance of understanding lead-to-customer conversion

The foundation of an ABM strategy is the focus on lead-to-customer conversion. The goal of ABM isn’t to obtain more leads, but to be smarter about targeting the right prospects and then nurturing those prospects throughout the sales funnel.

ABMScorecard report sample—image provided by Terminus

Says Vajre, “Many companies never look at the lead-to-customer conversion. They focus on in-funnel conversions, e.g., how many of the appointments are in the pipeline and how much of the pipeline turns into customers. But if they looked at the number of leads that turned into customers, it’s less than 1%. There’s a lot of waste.”

Terminus developed a TEAM framework that includes five elements—target, engage, activate and measure (TEAM) which looks at ABM as a B2B strategy, not a tool.

Says Vajre, “We ask, how do we target our investment account? How do we engage our investment account? Then, how do we activate our sales team?”

Activating sales is an important piece of an ABM strategy, but so is measurement. In 2018, Terminus acquired a company called Brightfunnel, a tool that measures marketing’s impact throughout the sales funnel.

Brightfunnel has since become the core component of Terminus’ marketing stack. Now, not only could Terminus help marketers get in front of the correct accounts, but could see which accounts were engaging and converting.

“Our customers get account-level analytics,” explained Vajre. “This literally gives them a full-funnel ABM program and engagement that didn’t exist before we created it.”

Businesses with long sales cycles benefit the most from ABM

Terminus’ current clients span all sizes and industries, from SMBs to mid-market to enterprise organizations.

However, Vajre indicated that while they’re seeing high growth with SMB and mid-market companies, their clients who have longer sales cycles, deals of roughly $50,000+, and involve multiple decision-makers in the buying process do best with an ABM strategy.

ABM dashboard sample—image provided by Terminus

“When our customer’s customer contributes over $50,000 in value per sale, has a longer sales cycle, and has multiple people involved in the purchase decision-making process, we’re seeing a great return on investment,” explained Vajre.

Terminus’ platform helps companies deliver business outcomes, so the focus isn’t on vanity metrics (e.g., total number of leads), but in connecting companies with the right accounts that help them meet sales and revenue objectives.

Onboarding with Terminus

Getting started with Terminus is a fairly simple process, particularly if a company has their creative and messaging ready. An initial campaign can be launched in less than thirty minutes.

Terminus works with their clients to determine what accounts to target and helps them focus on relevant metrics as opposed to vanity metrics such as impressions and clicks. Meaningful metrics are focused on business outcomes—improved acquisition, speeding up pipeline velocity, and expansion of existing accounts.

“We get our customers to articulate business outcomes as much as they can,” says Vajre, “and we continue to work with them to ensure they stay focused on outcomes rather than metrics. This requires an alignment of sales and marketing teams. This team framework and the value of team building is at the core of running an ABM program.”

When Terminus begins working with a new customer, they assign them a customer success manager (CSM) or account manager who typically works with a variety of people at their client’s organization. The tool is priced based on a flat fee, rather than on a per-login, basis.

“We help customers understand the team framework and how to operationalize sales and marketing,” explains Vajre. “It’s literally all about strategy. People can do ABM without Terminus. That’s not their problem. Terminus will help them scale it faster and do it better within a framework, but if companies figure out the ten accounts they want to go after and align their sales and marketing teams to operate as soon as that account engages on their website, they’re going to start seeing results.”

Terminus deploys media campaigns by using information provided by the customer via a CSV file or through a Salesforce integration.

Target accounts are matched with appropriate platforms and vendors through Terminus’ media partnerships with networks like LinkedIn, ad exchanges, display networks, and others to put the ads in front of the targeted accounts.

Says Vajre, “Our clients don’t have to do anything other than tell us which companies to target, which roles they’re interested in within those companies, and provide the creative they want to get in front of these targets. We take care of it on the back end.”

Terminus purchases the media directly, using funds supplied by the client, without marking it up. The platform acts as a conduit which targets specific accounts or account-based audiences, then delivers media accordingly.

They provide reports that show the match rate of media to each account which includes how many companies match, and how many impressions or ads have been served.

Parting words for B2B marketers

We asked Vajre if he had any advice for B2B marketers interested in taking an ABM approach to achieving their business goals.

“I would say two things,” said Vajre. “First don’t suddenly announce you’re switching to an ABM strategy. The best way to start is find the key person on your sales team and ask them to tell you the 10 accounts that are going to help you meet your quota this month or this quarter. Once they tell you the 10 accounts, focus the advertising, direct mail, and whatever you need to do to target those accounts in whatever way you need to make the salesperson successful. If you do this, sales will close more deals because marketing is so focused on those accounts. They will tell everybody what marketing did for them and CEO will want you to do that for the entire sales organization.”

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