#TOPO summary – ABM 2019

by Jon Russo

#TOPO summary – ABM 2019

by Jon Russo

by Jon Russo

Today’s post is a Guest Contribution by Jennifer Metherell. Jennifer has recently attended the TOPO conference and summarized the trip on what she learned relative to her 50+ ABM experiences.

1) Embarking on the ABM Journey – every successful organization who has effectively built an ABM practice all had one common theme – START SMALL!  All of the organizations who shared their stories chose 3-5 accounts who they could sell more solutions too or a large solution too and ran well-orchestrated plays to them for both new or existing logos.  The main reasons they did this: 

  • Limited resources to execute internally 
  • Pilots were run to get sales and marketing aligned on simple common goals
  • No technology buys needed to execute 

2) Forget the Funnel – As customer experience plays a stronger role in differentiating your product and reduces churn, more and more organizations are ditching the concept of the Funnel for a holistic approach to customer acquisition and expansion. They are looking at more at their customer relationship as a loop and understand that growth and sustainability come from a symbiotic view.  This viewpoint also helps pave the way for more internal groups to work together with a single account plan from sales, to implementation and on to account management.  The traditional funnel is great for transactional relationships but lacks the structural needs to make the customer first a strategy in the organization. 


3) MQL – So long, farewell, we hate to say goodbye!  Ok let’s face it the concept of the MQL is needed as a first step in getting Sales and Marketing working together, but really this is just a mechanism for building a better path of KPI’s. TOPO was the first place I have seen a widely accepted and commonly spoke about the concept of the MQA. Organizations who are focused on targeting ICP accounts understand that more than one person buys and if you are waiting for inbound then you are probably too late.  It was refreshing to see so many talk about driving engagement with the right accounts and people and use pipeline created or closed as the metrics they report. However, this does imply that Marketing is aligned with Sales and they jointly agreed to an ICP, target lists as well as a process for working accounts. In addition, this new process is fully supported by a newer set of tools in the marketing place like provide insights – intent data, account level engagement, and account scoring. 


4) Intent Data – If you are waiting to drive inbound leads you are late for the party! Intent data is finally maturing along with a set of best practice business process for implementation.  Forward thinking and high growth companies have developed the following practices within their organization:

  • Jointly defined an ICP with C-Suite, Sales & Marketing 
  • Understand the personas and playbooks for gaining market share
  • Purchased tools to show intent along with engagement for creation of an account score to prioritize with sales and marketing 

Just like that co-worker who does not sit and wait to be promoted through years of service, people using intent data ensure market growth by outmaneuvering their competitors. Seeing this stuff is sooooo cool. It reminds of when we first got Marketing automation and were like “Oh my gosh we can see who opened our emails!” Thank you 2005 – LOVE THIS STUFF


5) Shared organization strategies for driving alignment with sales and marketing while totally crushing it: 

  • SDR/BDR whatever you want to call it lives under marketing but is paid by a sales comp plan 
  • Sales and Marketing start annual planning together by developing an organization whitespace report 
  • Marketing understands and has accountability against the revenue targets the same way sales does 

We’re really passionate about ABM – if we can be a resource to you, let us know how!