Leading the Charge to Account-Based Everything — EnterpriseDB’s Global VP of Sales & Marketing Operations Nandini Karkare is on a Mission
At EnterpriseDB, account-based strategies are a major focus for 2017, and Nandini Karkare and her team are in the thick of it. In larger global businesses, achieving account-based success at scale is key, so getting BizOps right is critical. Nandini recently spoke to us about these challenges in our latest Strategic BizOps Profile.
Stephanie Fox: What are the key drivers behind EnterpriseDB’s account-based strategies, and where is the program today?
Nandini Karkare: In the summer of 2016 we conducted a systematic study of our Global 2000 accounts and analyzed the lifetime value (LTV) of our customers. Through this effort, it became apparent that a land-and-expand model of transferring accounts from one sales rep to another, which is a typical SMB/enterprise model, didn’t really work for our Global 2000 accounts. We have many Global 2000 accounts and we want to acquire more. We had already hired strategic account executives so now the question became ‘how do we make sure that we’re equipped to target more of these desired accounts?’ That’s how we got started with account-based marketing. We’ve now adopted the model and have acquired the tools we need to make this strategy our major focus for 2017.
SF: What are the main elements of your account-based marketing strategy?
NK: Account assignments — deciding which accounts we focus on. It’s not about abundance; it’s about limiting our efforts to the top accounts and understanding the lifecycle, because the relationship with the account is absolutely critical to our strategy.
SF: What are some of the biggest changes to your organization with the introduction of your account-based marketing effort, in terms of staff or responsibilities?
NK: Part of my team is focused on working with EnterpriseDB’s regional VPs across the globe to understand which accounts make sense to be part of this targeted audience for our new account-based model. Understanding where each account is in the lifecycle is critical. For example, is the account at level 1 and we’re just getting introduced, or have we had enough traction with the account already and the time is right to expand our relationship? At the same time that this work is underway, my team is still managing the continuous inbound marketing and selling efforts necessary to keep the business going without interruption until we bring our account-based strategy across the business.
SF: With a large global business, I would imagine that having a common definition of the program and its elements would keep everyone on the same page. Can you address the implications for how your BizOps team is driving that communication?
NK: We used to have a number of standard definition dashboards that worked for every sales rep assigned to global accounts. Now we have two. One dashboard is for account activities and the other is for new qualified leads (NQL). Dashboards have become extremely critical. Being able to understand if a particular contact belongs to an account and needs to be handled with kid gloves is really important. The problem with Salesforce.com is that it’s set up so that when the lead comes in you can then convert it to an account. What if you know all your accounts in advance? What we did was set up all our targeted accounts in Salesforce.com as skeleton accounts assigned to digital marketing. Now we are adopting a new tool that helps with the account allocation and automatic conversion of these leads to accounts. Not every lead is converted to an account; some of them are not targeted and they go through scoring. My team is busy. With the shift to our account-based model, the same team is now going through two different activities every day. It’s a challenge but it’s very interesting and we are getting there!
SF: That sounds like a massive effort. People are always looking for actionable advice. Can you share your best piece of advice for bringing account-based strategies to your company?
NK: An account-based strategy doesn’t end with sales and marketing; it goes beyond that. It needs to be a holistic approach for all departments – support, services, legal, sales and marketing – everyone in the organization must be talking the same language. For example, When it comes to outreach to customers, personalization is important but it needs to be controlled by branding. There may be some element of custom messaging in your emails, for example, but it needs to be managed by your marketing team and the message must resonate and be consistent.
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Steph served as Rekener’s Community Manager and CMO. A Rekener co-founder, she was previously Senior Director of Marketing at CCC, a $300M+ recurring revenue business, and served in marketing leadership roles at Vertical, @stake, Informio, DotContent and Meridian. Her first recurring revenue role was as an inside sales rep selling real-time stock pricing subscriptions.
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