ABM Now Issue #2
The Attention-Deficit Disaster
SalesLoft and 3C Software on cultivating consistency and why impersonal outreach is turtles all the way down
This article is part of the ABM Now series where we explore how ABM has changed in 2020. What will you take with you? What will you leave behind? Read the entire series here.
This week’s interview was rudely interrupted—not by a child or spouse, but by a one Mr. Snappy Pants. Five inches long with spines running down his neck, he’d succeeded in his quest to escape confinement and now Stacey Adams, Marketing Director at 3C Software, was busy searching for him.
Snappy is of course a turtle. As our call began, Stacey was checking under a dresser. “Sorry if I’m distracted,” laughed Stacey—and we all laughed. Then we all sighed. Because today, she didn’t need to apologize.
It’s a pandemic. Don’t each of us have our own turtle? Some home-life thread that the pandemic is violently tugging on? We’re caring for kids and parents and playing teacher, doctor, and counselor. None of us has our full mind at work.
Knowing that, and forgiving others for not being their full and present self, is a gift anyone can give right now. The faster marketers and salespeople can adapt to this reality, the sooner they’ll realize how important longitudinal relationships are. The accounts closing now are the ones you’ve been talking to for 18 months, and who already know, like, and trust you.
Today, Snappy served as an excellent reminder of this as I talked to Stacey Adams and Morgan Rochofski, Product and Partner Marketing lead at SalesLoft. Because one, we’re all distracted. And two … uh, sorry. Lost my train of thought.
I think I just saw a turtle.
Takeaway #1: Adapt creatively to the crushing need to always be on
I think because of what’s happening, people feel this crushing need to always be on. It’s happening to us and our customers—we now get inbound inquiries during nontraditional hours. Buyers expect you to share their emergency, even when you’re eating, even on a Saturday night. As a rep, it’s difficult to respond to it all in what feels like a timely manner, but at the same time, prospects want that reassurance. At SalesLoft, we’ve released new features to help reps be present even when they’re not, like mobile notifications. It’s the very tactical stuff that’s resonating right now.
Yes, and I’d say it drives home the need for interpersonal consistency. Both for our own sanity, but also for our customers. If we think about all the relationships in our lives, one of the main reasons we have those relationships is those people are consistent with us—just like how you need to be consistent with your customers. They need to trust that you’ll be there and be you. Many are having a difficult time. When I get someone on the phone today, I may be learning that their business experienced some catastrophic event that pulled back the curtain on some of their personal struggles. Be that consistent, reliable force and people will turn to you for help. The power right now is in being consistent.
Takeaway #2: Give the gift of consistency—it’s the next best thing to normalcy
When the pandemic set in, parts of our marketing outreach simply died on the vine—like events. Those were a big part of what we do. Our sales cycles could be 24 months and our salespeople would see prospects in-person at least four times per year. Suddenly we had to rethink that in an age where people aren’t traveling.
Again, this also comes back to consistency. I’ll share a story. In a Monday marketing team meeting, we saw one rep had three new meetings. We asked how she did it and she told us, “Oh, those are all people I’ve been building relationships with over the years.” Those seeds were planted long before anyone had heard of the virus. The needs of those customers may have changed, but our rep just kept calmly following up and running her cadences. If you have a plan and a process and you’re diligent, you’ll reap the benefits even in “uncertain” times.
I joined the SalesLoft team in March right as Covid hit. I was seeing our customers restructuring, going through layoffs, and sales teams taking a big hit. We started having this conversation of, how as a marketing team can we help our customers most right now? If customers have fewer reps but the same overall company sales goal, that means they have more accounts per person and people are stressed. How do we help them stay relevant and personalized, especially when they’re getting more of those messages on nights and weekends?
I believe everybody is craving an ounce of normalcy. The fewer handoffs, the more people can talk to that same salesperson as before, that builds trust, and trust helps them open the doors so you can understand their problem and solve it.
Takeaway #3: Don’t abandon the strategy at the first sign of trouble
Every team needs a North Star—that’s your top goal. It doesn’t change, but the strategies that support it do. Changing your North Star at the first sign of trouble hurts your consistency. It’s critical to understand and adjust—you can wake up and everyone is a remote worker within three days—but if you’re changing that top goal too much, you’re always starting over and behind the eight ball.
Exactly. Stop and think before you abandon your plan. Don’t just jump ship. We’re a mature enterprise and we have been doing ABM long before it was called ABM. We always got multi-threaded and sold to different audiences within an account. It’s great that it now has that wrapper and it’s a much more advanced dialog, but the reason we knew embracing it now would work is we proved it long before we needed it. If we were constantly changing our strategy, we wouldn’t have been nearly as certain.
Given everything you’ve learned this year, what will you leave behind?
Being “personalized.” To me, that just means those emails that I go through and delete each morning. Instead, be custom. Really connect with fewer people one-on-one. It beats shouting from the mountaintops to no one in particular.
I’d say inauthenticity. No more ‘show.’ All that pretense of us all having our lives perfectly laid out and orderly is all gone when our kids are screaming in the background. Everyone I work with has now heard my kids scream. That facade of who you and your company are is gone and good riddance because I think it makes people more empathetic listeners. This has to be the way we sell now, amidst this attention-deficit disaster.
What will you take with you?
Definitely the idea that relationships are key, and the best way to maintain authentic ones is being consistent and being yourself. Your buyer is a person. You’re a person. My mantra is people are people—at home and at work. Give in to that reality and take it with you into your interactions.
For me, perseverance. Keep building those relationships through all weather. This year has taught me that things can change quickly—new roles, no more events, consolidation, acquisition—but keep building those relationships because that’s how you’re going to win.
Sr. Director, Partner and Channel Marketing, Demandbase
Christine Farrier is the Senior Director of Partner Marketing at Demandbase. In this role, she brings together substantive marketing, communications and entrepreneurial expertise primarily focused in the investment banking and technology industries. Prior to joining Demandbase, Christine held marketing leadership roles with IHS Markit and Imagine Software and successfully exited from her arts and culture startup.
Product and Partner Marketing, SalesLoft
Morgan leads Partner Marketing at SalesLoft and helps shape the company's Account-Based strategy. She is an experienced marketing leader with 10+ years driving growth in leading B2B SaaS and Technology companies in practices such as finance, accounting, manufacturing, and sales engagement.
Marketing Director, 3C Software
Since 2002, Stacey has served as the leader of marketing initiatives at 3C Software. Her responsibilities include lead generation, product marketing, corporate communications, public relations, event management, and marketing operations. In addition, Stacey manages the online advertising and demand generation efforts for the company. Prior to joining 3C Software, Stacey served as a manager in the strategy consulting group at Accenture where she worked with financial services clients on a wide range of projects. Early in her career, Stacey served as Participant Services Manager for benefits leader Hewitt Associates and Customer Service Manager at long-distance player Sprint.