Working for a heavily sales-driven company, I guess you could say account-based marketing (ABM) was always in our destiny.
Sure enough, it’s emerging as a crucial strategy as we seek to expand outside of our core customer base, uncover new growth channels and forge deeper, higher-yielding relationships with our largest accounts.
For marketing, not only has ABM allowed us to undertake some of the most personalised, advanced automation tactics we’ve run to date, it’s also fostered an extremely collaborative rhythm between sales and marketing.
Before I elaborate on those tactics and our new best friends in sales, let’s provide a bit of context on who “we” are.
SilverChef provide equipment finance to hospitality businesses in Australia, New Zealand, the US and Canada. The total installed value of commercial hospitality equipment in Australia is $5b and as much as $50b in the US. Suffice to say there’s a lot of opportunity for us!
Our core customer is an independent, start-up café or restaurant, and the majority of our marketing automation is tailored to this audience. A key growth channel for us however is large franchise groups.
Needless to say, our value proposition to a 300-store franchise network is very different to a hole-in-the-wall coffee shop. So with a huge opportunity across our franchise accounts yet all our marketing messages focused on other channels, what were we to do? The answer for us was an ABM strategy.
Somewhat contrary to the title of this article, it is my belief that ABM isn’t a defined checklist in terms of “things to do” in Pardot. ABM is more of a philosophy in terms of finding a way to target, engage and draw revenue from key accounts.
In that way, it encourages marketers to think like salespeople, in turn bringing the two departments closer together. For that reason, ABM has been a fantastic exercise in terms of showcasing the value of Pardot to our sales team, not to mention our C-Suite who want to see revenue as a direct result of our marketing initiatives.
Here’s five ABM initiatives we’ve employed using Salesforce Pardot.
Identifying franchise prospects
We worked with sales to understand how they ultimately acquire revenue from the franchise sector. Their first step is “accrediting” a franchise group, which instills SilverChef as an approved supplier to their network of stores.
Our sales team then have a license to approach franchisees to sell our product. For marketing, this meant when we accredited a new franchise group, we could immediately start building a program for each of their franchisees as and when they enter our system.
We used the relevant fields in Sales Cloud (mapped to Pardot), as well as a series of automation rules and dynamic lists to categorise prospects belonging to each franchise group. This formed the basis of our dynamic content and nurture programs.
Our website only has one page dedicated to franchise. If we know the visitor is a franchise prospect however, our franchise product becomes front-and-centre, almost as if it were our core product. This includes such updates as transitioning the finance calculator on our homepage to reflect our franchise interest rate. All of this is done through the use of dynamic content.
We take it a step further by tailoring our website content to the type of franchise. If it’s a Subway franchise prospect, we’ll showcase the cost to finance sandwich prep equipment and display cabinets. If it’s a prospect from Baskin-Robbins, it would relate to the cost to finance refrigeration equipment.
We’re also beginning to dip our toes into Salesforce Engage, which we see as a particularly effective initiative within our ABM-strategy. What I’m most excited about is real-time alerts. For example, if a known franchise prospect is interacting with our interactive finance calculator, why wait for a lead? We can send an alert to the franchise sales team and have them take action right away.
Email and lead nurture programs
It can’t just be our website where our franchise prospects see franchise-centric content, otherwise it would be a disjointed experience.
We have dedicated Engagement Studio programs for franchise prospects. These drip feed various franchise resources including ebooks relevant to franchises, testimonials and case studies from franchisees (from the same franchise group as the recipient when we can), and special offers across our franchise products.
We use dynamics lists to suppress franchise prospects from receiving all of our non-franchise automated programs.
Similar to our website, we use dynamic content to change the type of equipment we promote. If it’s a prospect from Noodle Box, the emails will promote equipment such as wok burners, and feature lifestyle imagery relating to noodle shops. We also co-brand the email templates with the logo of their franchise. It seems like a minor detail, but it demonstrates a level of partnership and authenticity to the email as compared to something they may otherwise view as spam upon first glance.
We’re currently uploading our franchise prospects into our ad platforms to serve franchise-specific ads, and suppress them from receiving non-franchise related ads, which makes up the bulk of our spend.
The next stage for us is exploring Advertising Studio so we can advertise specifically to franchise prospects through Google Search, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube automatically.
This would bring our communication full circle. When we identify a franchisee from Pizza Hut, they’ll see content on our website relating to our franchise product and pizza equipment. This will match what’s being received in their inbox, with email templates featuring pizza lifestyle imagery, the Pizza Hut logo and the most common types of pizza equipment we finance. Then when they go online they’ll see YouTube videos, Google Ads and product ads on their Facebook timeline with the cost to finance pizza equipment assets.
Of course, it’s all about the revenue, so we work with the sales team to regularly report on engagement, leads and settlements. What’s working, what’s not, which franchisees are responding and which aren’t. For the ones who aren’t, we change the messaging, offers or products featured. Sales also pass on qualitative feedback from franchisees.
In summary, beyond all the technical wizardry that goes into making ABM happen, in my experience the strategy consistently returns to a single fundamental; the relationship with sales.
It’s been refreshing to feel like we have a degree of equal investment and ownership in our sales strategy relating to franchise, rather than the norm of a focus on driving high-quality leads, then letting sales do the rest somewhat out of sight of marketing until we see the final opportunity status.
Our acquisitions from franchise this year are past $5.5m. That’s certainly testament to the fantastic work our sales teams do in this space. We though, as the marketing team, can definitely say we’ve played a meaningful part in that through our ABM strategy.
And this time, sales would agree.
Learn more about how Pardot can help you engage buyers, close deals, and grow relationships with ABM.