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How We Improved Our ABM Results by Giving Our SDRs Superpowers

An account-based marketing (ABM) approach has been essential here at Lattice Engines for effectively connecting with, engaging and penetrating accounts. One of the most critical elements of our ABM success has been our Sales Development Representative (SDR) team.

In fact, the SDR team is critical for driving pipeline development in our sales environment.

In this post, I’m going to give you an inside look at how our SDR team incorporates into our ABM program and show you how they’ve become an essential channel for us.

If you have an outbound SDR team, your sales cycles are more than 6 months long, your solution offering involves multiple stakeholders, or your total addressable market is made up of 10k+ accounts, these insights may help you improve your sales results, too!

First, Give SDRs the Right Guardrails

On the road, guardrails keep drivers from drifting off the road. At Lattice Engines, guardrails keep our SDR team members from wasting time and resources on accounts that our product is not a good fit for.

Without guardrails in place, SDRs will go after any and all accounts — and they’ll employ the “spray and pray” method that marketing has proven to be ineffective.

That's not to say this is always the SDRs fault, though! You can see in this first screenshot that even with access to firmographic data, it can be difficult to know for sure if an account is a good fit and worth the time.

Example of how deep insights enable you to better identify your ideal customers

The challenge for us was how to keep the SDR team productive and focused on the right accounts — accounts that would benefit from our product offering and that would drive revenue for our company.

Regardless of our SDRs’ training, sales enablement, or skill set, they are less effective than they can be if they’re spending time focused on prospects who are either non-responsive or unready. This is exactly why we deployed a solution driven by artificial intelligence (AI). This helps improve the SDRs’ sales prospecting effectiveness and keeps them laser-focused on the right targets.

How We Use AI to Give SDRs Access to the Right Insights — and Empower Them to Take Action

Nipul Chokshi, VP of Marketing here at Lattice Engines, built a predictive model to help us identify our ideal customer profile (ICP). Then he incorporated select attributes that Sales and SDRs care about (i.e. if the account is using Marketo, Eloqua, Salesforce.com, etc.) into the modeling process.

The predictive model allows us to validate that our current understanding of our ICP is accurate. For instance, we know that our offering does well in the mid-market and enterprise segments, as well as in verticals such as high tech, telecommunications, manufacturing, merchant services, and distribution.

Bonus: The model also provides us full transparency into predictive insights we are unaware of.

The two examples below show that ICPs that have high online presence and marketing technology adoption convert at a higher rate for us.

Example of Online Presence Attributes in ICP

Example of Technologies Used Attributes in ICP

Finally, to help the SDRs take action upon these insights, our Operations team created a segmentation framework with high, medium and low priority segments based on account fit, engagement, intent signals, and detection of competitive solutions. This information helps us identify the customer’s buying stage so that we can engage them with more relevant messages.

These segments are then pushed into our Salesforce.com (SFDC) dashboard with specific details on prioritization, sales plays, rationale and talking points for the SDRs.

Example of buyer segmentation and activation channels
Example of "Recommended" accounts in SFDC

The Benefits of Keeping SDRs Focused on the Right Accounts

This AI-powered model has dramatically helped the SDRs manage their days and be more productive with outreach. Instead of wasting time on leads and accounts that are low fit or will never buy, they are able to focus on the right accounts with a multi-touch approach for better account penetration.

Additionally, this has significantly improved sales and marketing alignment. The SDRs have access to the same account insights and intelligence as the marketing team, allowing both teams to have cohesive messaging to the accounts.

I’m excited to share our learnings and processes in hopes that it will spark creative ideas for your own team and organization. My SDR team and I will be blogging on a number of topics around how AI has and continues to transform our business processes.

Stay tuned for the next blog on how our marketing team will be running targeted LinkedIn ads as air coverage for the SDRs and Sales team.

Written by

Nhungly Dang
October 29, 2019