• Before heading out for the holidays, check out these six demand and account-based marketing (ABM) planning tips for a successful 2021
  • Quit bingeing on leads — try one new demand metric, and clean up content repositories to improve clarity on revenue engine and program performance in the coming year
  • Listen to buying signals, make time to reconnect with sales, and partner demand and ABM teams to enhance alignment and drive resilience no matter what 2021 brings

This is the sixth in a series of blog posts that provide demand and account-based marketing (ABM) best practices in honor of the 12 days of Christmas.

Every year, the demand and ABM team gets together to propose and discuss (okay, maybe argue and debate!) the planning guidance we will share with marketing leaders for the upcoming year. This year was no different, and if you missed our 2021 planning assumptions for demand and ABM, you can check them out here.

As the year comes to a close, however, we thought it would be fun to create an additional set of planning tips for B2B marketers in the form of six Christmas crackers. For those of you unfamiliar with Christmas crackers, they are festive table decorations found in the UK and Ireland and across the Commonwealth that are pulled open around the dinner table to reveal a small gift and a joke such as “What do you get if you cross Santa with a duck? A Christmas quacker!” Groups often join hands to open their crackers together and then share their presents and jokes around the table. So having set the scene around our virtual Christmas table, we hope you enjoy opening these Christmas crackers.

Christmas Cracker #1

Joke: Who hides in the bakery at Christmas? A mince spy.

Planning Tip: Stop bingeing on leads

It’s almost impossible at Christmas to stay away from all the chocolates and candy on offer. Unfortunately, it’s not long before the box is empty and the sugar rush wears off, leaving you with nothing but a bunch of empty wrappers. In B2B marketing, leads offer the same allure and excitement when they first come in, only to leave your pipeline feeling empty a short time later. Why not make a new year’s resolution to swear off counting leads and go for the healthier option of buying groups? Tracking buying group opportunities vs. leads helps us see what’s really there — people working together to make a single buying decision. And while passing buying group opportunities to sales may feel hard at first, because it means sending lower volumes, many clients have already proven that this approach drives higher deal conversion rates, resulting in a healthier and happier pipeline.

Christmas Cracker #2

Joke: What do Santa’s little helpers learn at school? The elf-abet.

Planning Tip: Try one new demand metric

At the end of each year, many people make a resolution to try something new in the coming year. This year, why not apply that thinking to your demand dashboard? Ask yourself if your metrics are truly helping you answer these four key questions: Is the company landing more of the right deals? Is marketing meaningfully involved in supporting those deals? Does marketing’s involvement result in better outcomes? Is marketing’s involvement economical? If the answer to any of these is no, then it’s time for a change. For example, consider adding a target-to-engaged conversion rate to your Demand Waterfall® to provide clarity on the percentage of your overall target market reaching the engaged stage.

Christmas Cracker #3

Joke: What’s the most popular Christmas wine? I don’t like brussels sprouts.

Planning Tip: Clean up your content

This season, many of us will complain we can’t find anything to wear despite having drawers full of clothes we haven’t worn in ages. While it may be comforting to know we have all that stuff just in case, if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ve probably forgotten most of what’s there. B2B marketers have the same issue with content. Why not make a fresh start by auditing existing content, retiring what’s no longer viable, and creating a taxonomy to help you find the pieces you need when you need them? Then go one step further and break down content that contains multiple topics into modules that can be combined and reused in various ways to ensure your content is always in style.

Christmas Cracker #4

Joke: What is the best Christmas present? A broken drum — you can’t beat it.

Planning Tip: Listen more to your buyers

December 26 is retail’s most dreaded day because it kicks off the holiday returns season. In B2B marketing, every day is returns day as millions of buyers say “No, thank you” to marketing programs that fail to engage them. Finding the perfect gift for your buyers, however, is possible if you pay close attention to the buying signals they are sending you. Start by collecting buying signals via your website and third-party websites and capturing information on buyers’ content consumption and interaction habits. Spend time analyzing the most popular theme, asset, and delivery mechanism combinations for different audiences and leverage those insights to create programs your buyers will truly appreciate.

Christmas Cracker #5

Joke: What did Cinderella say when her photos didn’t arrive on time? Someday my prints will come.

Planning Tip: Make time to reconnect with sales

The holiday season is often a time to reconnect with friends and family, even if it’s just on the phone. This year, why not use the weeks ahead of Christmas to reconnect with your sales peers? Find out how their year-end close is shaping up, ask about sales kick-off plans, and schedule time in early January to walk through your respective sales and marketing plans one on one. Make time to go through everything from global revenue targets to regional route-to-market strategies to ensure your plans are aligned, not just linked. Getting that date in the diary early is key, because if you leave it too long, any good intentions to create joint plans will remain just that — good intentions.

Christmas Cracker #6

Joke: Why couldn’t the skeleton go to the Christmas party? He had no body to go with.

Planning Tip: Partner if you want to go faster

We’ve all struggled with isolation this year, but alongside those periods of uncertainty and turmoil, we’ve seen some amazing examples of B2B marketers’ ability to adapt to new situations. To succeed in the new year, continue to fuel that spirit of experimentation and test new ways of working with marketing peers. One readily available opportunity for marketing leaders is to foster collaboration between the demand and ABM teams. Both groups have much they can learn from one another in their quest to develop better strategies for engaging buying groups, and if they work together, they will go farther faster.

We hope you enjoyed our planning themed Christmas crackers — and thank you to DevonLive for its blog post “These are 100 funny (and very cheesy) Christmas cracker jokes” from which we sourced our jokes. Stay tuned for the rest of our festive blog series. We have plenty more to share, so check back tomorrow!