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  • John Bugay

How to Focus Your ABM Efforts toward “Demand Units”

Updated: May 7, 2020

We know that accounts don’t products and services; people buy. And every salesperson knows there are multiple people involved in any B2B buy cycle. These may include end users, technology buyers, economic buyers (who can verify that the new product or service will fit with the companies current practices, and even ultimately sign off on the purchase), and yes, importantly, an internal person related to the process whom they can call “coach”.


As B2B marketing has evolved from batch-n-blast spreadsheets to a more sophisticated and segmented approach with marketing automation technology, how can you assure your sales teams that you’re reaching the complete gamut of those buyers?


Account Based Marketing (ABM) is a field that has shown how more sophisticated marketers are targeting just the accounts that are likely to generate qualified leads and ultimately purchase.


And now the rise of Sirius Decision’s Demand Unit Waterfall (or buying committee focused ABM) is the next step to quality lead generation and beating the competition to the ideal prospects early. A Demand Unit (DU) focus adds an additional dimension to ABM, taking it to a whole new level.


The key difference is that a Demand Unit or buying committee approach allows the demand generation marketer to focus solely on those individuals who really matter. It requires a little more work, such as:


1. Identifying members of, and gaps in, the Demand Unit. Your buyer personas may need to be expanded, and updated frequently.


2. You’ll need to discover any key contacts that are missing from your existing data. This should be done on an on-going basis, especially if the sales cycle is over 6 months. Missing contacts need to be added and engaged.


3. Activate Selling Team personas (a new concept in selling) to engage appropriate members of the entire Demand Unit over time on a many-to-many relationship.


4. Score and aggregate engagements at the Demand Unit level. Roll it up to the Account level for traditional ABM scoring.


5. Tracking progress at a Demand Unit level provides deeper insights about those personas, roles, titles, and individuals who matter the most. Also roll up reporting to the Account level for your ABM dashboards.


Keep in mind step 3: Using a 3rd party brand. You can no longer buy lists or leads and email to them in a “batch-and-blast” format. You need to be aware of privacy laws, while maintaining your agility. But you can target key leads by relying on an outside source.

The buying members of a Demand Unit are a diverse group from different departments. Reaching out to them involves reaching not only primary decision makers and Influencers, but a secondary set of decision makers and influencers as well. You may even need to reach out to potential detractors and nay-sayers.


As a marketer, being able to engage with the right people from this group with the right message at the right time, at scale, is crucial in creating quality leads and supporting sales.

The process works by moving individuals from Target Demand to Prioritized Demand. You could either start with an ABM/Target Account List, or a first-party or third-party feed(s) of accounts actively researching topics that are relevant. There are many options to piloting a DU approach while making incremental ABM gains.


“Selling Team” Personas from your own organization, will enable a “team selling” environment, in which multiple people from a company engaging in digital conversations with different members of the Buying Committee with specific messages, at the best time to optimize early top-of-funnel lead generation does not need to be confusing.


Buying committee or DU focused ABM requires a little more work but is well worth it to stay ahead of the competition. Lead generation is, after all, about communicating at scale over time. If we all just engaged the folks that have mutual significance, there would be less noise and better relationships – which is good for everyone.




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