Domenic Colasante of 2X On The Top 5 Most Effective Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Strategies

An Interview With Rachel Kline

Authority Magazine
Authority Magazine

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Build your named account list with a combination of profiling criteria and intent. Too often, it’s 100% sales nominated and doesn’t capture individuals in the market. The named account list needs components of both.

As the marketing landscape evolves, businesses are increasingly adopting Account Based Marketing as a targeted and strategic approach to engage high-value accounts. With its emphasis on personalized and relevant content, ABM has proven to deliver impressive ROI and foster long-term relationships with key customers. However, the effectiveness of an ABM strategy hinges on the proper implementation and execution of the right tactics. How can organizations optimize their ABM efforts to drive success? In this interview series, we are talking to marketing professionals, ABM experts, thought leaders, and successful practitioners about their “Top 5 Most Effective Account-Based Marketing Strategies.” As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Domenic Colasante.

Domenic Colasante is CEO at 2X, the category creator and fastest growing marketing-as-a-service firm. Domenic is a thought leader on marketing organizational models and operating model transformation. Previously, Domenic was CMO at WGroup and has held demand creation, marketing ops, analytics, and ABM roles at Siemens and SAP.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share your personal backstory with us?

My journey began when I earned my Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Management and Marketing from Widener University in 2010. I received my Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Strategic Management and International Business from Villanova University in 2015.

I started my career path with SAP as a Marketing Specialist, Team Lead. Subsequently, I held multiple marketing leadership roles within SAP and with Siemens, including demand creation, marketing ops, analytics, and Account-Based Marketing (ABM).

From May 2011 to October 2012, I held the Marketing Manager, Strategic Accounts (ABM) position at Unify. I then became the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at WGroup that same year. WGroup is a U.S.-based IT management consulting firm where I led the company to a 30% per year revenue growth rate, where 56% of WGroup’s sales bookings were attributed to marketing.

In 2017, I co-founded 2X, where I’m also the current Chief Executive Officer (CEO). 2X is a leading B2B-focused Marketing-as-a-Service (MaaS) firm that enables marketing leaders at large enterprises in the technology and professional services industries to operate with a more significant impact and at a significantly lower cost.

As CEO at 2X, I am responsible for leading the company’s growth efforts and continuing to grow the business. Additionally, I also act as a strategic advisor to our clients. Under my leadership, the firm has ranked in the top 20% of the Inc. 5,000 list of fastest-growing companies in the U.S. and in the top 100 of the Financial Times’ list of The Americas’ Fastest Growing Companies.

Through this experience, I’ve become an industry expert and thought leader in B2B marketing, marketing organizational models, operating model transformation, ABM, MaaS, outsourcing, and the future of work.

Can you share with us three strengths, skills, or characteristics that helped you to reach this place in your career? How can others actively build these areas within themselves?

  1. Curiosity — I’m a lifetime learner and always want to understand new things and how things work, and why. Someone I respect tremendously said, “a company stops growing when the CEO stops growing.” I’ve intentionally thrown myself into places where I don’t know what to do. That creates a priority to learn something new and figure it out. Those are the moments where I’ve really learned.
  2. Refuse to Fail — So many things within a company may feel hard to do, but they are within the CEO’s control and should be treated like controllable items. Sometimes it’s just setting the expectation with the team that this is a “no-fail mission.” We achieve great things by working hard, and sometimes it just requires a commitment to do whatever it takes. You can’t do that every day, but there are moments when this is the right way to solve a challenge, and it’s a lever I’m never afraid to pull. It causes members of my team to grow too!
  3. Be a Sponge, but also a Filter — A strength early in my career was being coachable. I learned a lot from senior leaders above me, and I tended to manage by consensus. As I grew, I learned that it’s not always the best strategy to follow 100% of the advice and recommendations that are given. When I learned how to take input, gather different perspectives, and to filter/prioritize and make a decision based on all of the facts was where I felt I began to scale as a leader.

Fantastic. Let’s now shift to the main part of our interview. What inspired you to focus on account-based marketing, and what results have you seen from this approach?

I worked in the account-based marketing (ABM) space my entire career — including before we called it ABM — because it is a highly effective approach for marketers to respectfully and effectively market. Adopting ABM enables marketing campaigns to carry out a more targeted approach, meaning that they don’t market to everyone in the same way. Fundamentally, it’s about segmentation, targeting, and personalization.

The observed results from implementing the ABM strategy are undeniable, from increased engagement and better conversation rates to higher revenue growth and more robust customer engagement.

How do you identify the right accounts to target, and what criteria do you use to determine whether an account is a good fit for your ABM strategy?

When adopting the ABM strategy, identifying the proper account to target becomes a matter of combining profiling criteria and intent.

The criteria used to determine if an account is a good fit involve the account’s industry, company size, revenue potential, and behavioral data. Assessing these criteria will help any business identify the correct account that aligns with them and the overall goals and objectives of the ABM strategy. It helps you prioritize the total addressable market (TAM) and target the ~5% of the TAM that is active in-market at any given time.

What is your process for creating personalized content and messaging for each account, and how do you ensure that it resonates with your target audience?

The best process for creating the right personalized content and messaging is conducting thorough research of an account or segment, such as its industry, challenges, objectives, goals, target audiences, industry experts/thought leaders, and more.

The goal of ABM is to try to treat prospects (whether companies or people) as individuals — and be as personalized as possible so that your content speaks to their unique industry or pain point and moves them through their journey in a respectful way that builds upon what they already know about your company and your category of solutions.

What role does technology play in your ABM strategy, and how do you leverage tools like AI and machine learning to improve targeting and personalization?

Technology plays a crucial role in an ABM strategy. The increased technological advancement has become vital in automating many processes for creating and employing ABM strategies. Platforms like 6sense provide visibility to buyer behavior, channels, and routes to market to activate the prospects into a conversation with your brand (ads/emails) and then visibility to downstream impact and marketing effectiveness.

AI and machine learning can now aid organizations in scalability and enhancing targeting and personalization through their ability to analyze large volumes of datasets and account interactions, identify patterns, and predict customer behavior.

How do you measure the success of your ABM campaigns, and what metrics do you track to evaluate their effectiveness?

The most common metrics are revenue generation, pipeline creation, account engagement and growth, conversion rates, customer retention, and program ROI.

The success of ABM campaigns is based on multiple factors directly correlated to the established goals and objectives of said campaigns. We can track the right metrics and evaluate their effectiveness depending on these goals and objectives.

Here is our main question: Can you please share your “Top 5 Most Effective Account Based Marketing (ABM) Strategies.”

  1. Build your named account list with a combination of profiling criteria and intent. Too often, it’s 100% sales nominated and doesn’t capture individuals in the market. The named account list needs components of both.
  2. Have a platform at the center. It isn’t easy to do ABM at scale in spreadsheets. 6sense is the industry’s most powerful ABM (or ABX) solution.
  3. Tech alone isn’t ABM — dedicate people/team/capability around it. You’ll need campaign volume, activity, content (personalized content), advertising creative for testing, and digital experiences. Make sure to understand the broader components required to bring an ABM program to life.
  4. ABM is 1:1, 1:Few, and 1:Many. Don’t think about it just for your top 50 accounts. The methodology can be applied to the broader notion of marketing.
  5. Marketers — lean way into the sales side of this. You don’t declare victory at routing an engaged account to sales. Help them have a lightning-in-the-bottle moment on their call (research), keep marketing on for acceleration/nurture during the cycle, multi-thread for different personas on the buying committee, and afterward be a contributor in unlocking whitespace as you upsell/expand the relationship. Your target is revenue; you win when the account enters the door.

How do you see the future of ABM evolving, and what new strategies or technologies do you think will be most impactful in the years to come?

The future of ABM will be tightly connected to the constant advancement of technology and the evolution of customers’ behavior. This will make ABM more widely adopted, allowing businesses to target a larger volume of accounts and drive revenue growth.

Technologies that will further impact ABM include AI-powered tools and predictive analytics that effectively automate and optimize marketing strategies, increasing sophistication and enhancing targeting and hyper-personalization for more layered campaigns that drive revenue more efficiently.

What would you say is the most valuable marketing software in your tech stack?

6sense is the most valuable component of my and many of our client’s tech stacks. No other platform provides the depth of command center visibility and execution capabilities to not just see what’s happing in the market but to create the customer experience and engagement moments that your entire marketing strategy is built around.

I’m always focused on tech platforms that help 2X and our clients stay at the forefront of advancements that can help achieve better marketing outcomes. In addition, we partner with platforms like Adobe Marketo Engage, Salesforce, Bombora, and Drift, and we will continue to be judicious of who we partner with that can really move the needle of marketing impact.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I have two. One specific to the topic of this discussion — it continues to bother me that in the evolution of the go-to-market (GTM) engine, we created the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) role to provide leadership over both sales and marketing, but in practice, nearly every CRO I’ve met is a sales leader, with a sales background, and often an admitted gap in marketing expertise. This means that in most companies, the executive that owns marketing does not have deep marketing expertise. We have to change that! Marketers need to become more sales-minded and capable so they can work broadly across the full GTM engine and bring a diversity of skills into the CRO responsibility. The changing B2B buyer journey shows us in many ways that the job of marketing can be as, and sometimes more, important than the role of sales in revenue growth.

And one more broadly — education. Education is the only real pathway to personal, professional, financial, and social advancement. Whether that’s formal education or other types of learning and certifications, access to learning is a human right, and it benefits all of us tremendously to prioritize and fund this.

How can our readers best continue to follow your work online?

Check out the 2X insights from our team at www.2x.marketing/insights. On social media, you can follow me on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/domeniccolasante. If anyone has questions about ABM and other related B2B marketing topics, please message me at domenic@2X.marketing.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

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