Sales Pipeline Radio, Episode 214: Q & A with Kristina Jaramillo @GetLinkedInHelp

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This week’s episode is entitled How to Personalize ABM: A Blueprint for Sales Executivesand our guest is Kristina Jaramillo.  Kristina is the President at Personal ABM.

I ask her to describe her approach and what her firm does. I love the angle they’re taking, we don’t see it often enough.

“… everyone’s familiar in sales and marketing, or most people are familiar with account based marketing and we do the personalized approach, which means it’s like laser focused and not campaign based. I feel like ABM might’ve gotten diluted or it’s probably getting diluted like a lot of marketing tactics do, that people just get a list from navigator or they’ll get a list of targets they want to reach out. Maybe top 10 or top 100, whatever it is and send out the same message.

I feel like ABM might’ve gotten diluted or it’s probably getting diluted like a lot of marketing tactics do

But we actually personalize everything from profiles, content, messaging, sales communications, because we want to get down to the level of the actual individual. Who is responsible within that account for different things? They’re all going to have the end goal of increasing revenue for their company. But a sales rep is going to have a different goal than the SVP of Sales. Or whoever you’re targeting, whatever decision making group you’re targeting, they’re all going to have different goals and we want to make sure to speak to all of them, so you can create that collective buy-in and change why they should be working with you versus maybe a competitor or why they even need to change at all.

We also talk a little bit about the personal account based approach and how that’s different from how a lot of people think about ABM traditionally… and a lot more.  Listen in or read all about it below:

Matt:  All right, well welcome everybody to another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio. Thank you very much for joining us, we are always here live at 11:30 Pacific, 2:30 Eastern on Thursday. This program is running live, but this is an on demand recording, if you’re listening to this live, I am probably taking a nap somewhere on Whidbey Island, I’m taking a little vacation to get away from things, going completely off the grid.

But Sales Pipeline Radio waits for no man and I’m very excited to have lined up some great guests for you here as we round out July and head into August. Very excited to have with us today, Kristina Jaramillo, President of Personal ABM. And I’m realizing now, Kristina, like I just always use your first name and it’s the first time I’ve tried to pronounce your last name. Did I get that right?

Kristina:  Yeah. Well, I Americanized it because it’s much easier, but it’s actually Jaramillo.

Matt:  Jaramillo, even better, I love that. Thank you very much for joining us, you are the President of Personal ABM and can you just describe your approach, what your firm does? Because I love the angle you’re taking, we don’t see it often enough.

Kristina:  So I think everyone’s familiar in sales and marketing, or most people are familiar with account based marketing and we do the personalized approach, which means it’s like laser focused and not campaign based. I feel like ABM might’ve gotten diluted or it’s probably getting diluted like a lot of marketing tactics do, that people just get a list from navigator or they’ll get a list of targets they want to reach out. Maybe top 10 or top 100, whatever it is and send out the same message.

But we actually personalize everything from profiles, content, messaging, sales communications, because we want to get down to the level of the actual individual. Who is responsible within that account for different things? They’re all going to have the end goal of increasing revenue for their company. But a sales rep is going to have a different goal than the SVP of Sales. Or whoever you’re targeting, whatever decision making group you’re targeting, they’re all going to have different goals and we want to make sure to speak to all of them, so yet you can create that collective buy-in. And change why they should be working with you versus maybe a competitor or why they even need to change at all.

Matt:  Well, and we were talking about this before we started recording, a lot of companies, obviously, are doing account based marketing efforts, they’re taking an account based approach to sales and marketing. But too often, we talk about those as these broader programs where we have our target accounts and we’re doing these multi touch sequences and integrating what’s happening between sales and marketing, all important. But very rarely do we get down to the level of like, “What does the sales rep do? Like if I’m an account rep and I’m trying to engage my target accounts, what’s my job?” So talk a little bit about the personal account based approach and how that’s different from how a lot of people think about ABM traditionally?

Kristina:  Yeah, I think what traditional ABM might speak to industries as a whole, but in most cases that relevance is not going beyond the industry level. And again, ABM, I think tends to speak to accounts. And I think sales and marketing teams are going to … at least what I’ve seen, select the list of accounts they want to target, they want to engage with. And kind of do like a marketing or an advertising campaign, but they’re not going to really go beyond company level relevance.

So what we do, I’m going to keep saying personal a million times. Personal ABM is about speaking to humans within the accounts that you want to win. So your profile, your content, whatever it is, video, articles, white papers, the whole thing. Messaging and sales and marketing communications are all going to speak to those specific gaps that you see or research about in those accounts and those personal impacts.

So personal impacts to each position or each person in that buying committee. And we kind of like to think of each interaction as like a mini sales conversation. So if you send someone an invite to connect, that’s a mini sales conversation, so it’s got to be super relevant. If you send them a nurturing email, it’s got to be super relevant. Especially, I think, in B2B I found that one misstep can just end the whole interaction that you’re trying to engage with someone. So going back to that personal, it’s personal emotional connection. And I think once you can do that, sales and marketing will have an easier time of breaking down walls.

And one of the things that we like to do or that we’ve seen work, is try to show people their unconsidered needs. What’s going on in their business? How it affects them personally and those that they serve? And you get in to show them a new way of thinking and because you created like a buy-in vision that maybe no one else could, you become a party of one rather than party of many. And it increases your chances of getting that deal.

Matt:  Yeah, I think that’s a really important point to make. And we’re talking today, on Sales Pipeline Radio with Kristina Jaramillo, President of Personal ABM. You can check them out, they’ve got a great set of resources on our website. Definitely check out, stopthesalesdrop.com, and we’ll put a link to that in the show notes as well.

And Kristina, I think a lot of people actually believe that they are doing ABM when they’re using LinkedIn Sales Navigator to find targets and find connections and just reach out. But just because it’s on your target account list, just because you are sort of fishing with spears now by looking at individuals versus building long lists, it doesn’t inherently mean your approach is going to be better. And there’s a level of efficiency that we’re not necessarily going for here, we’re looking for impact. And so an inefficient, not very efficiently, scalable process might actually be better at getting the engagement in the target accounts you want. Talk a little bit about what’s missing from the way a lot of people think about sort of target account, social ABM and what they can be doing better?

Kristina:  Yeah. Well, I think what I’ve seen people do and it’s common, I don’t know if it’s necessarily a mistake, but someone will come to me and like, “We have a top hundred counts we need to do ABM with.” And I’m like, “Then the kind of ABM that we do is not going to hit a hundred accounts. It’s going to maybe hit 10, 15, 20, it’s just not feasible to do ABM successfully and personalized with a hundred counts.” So I think people kind of just go into sales navigator or wherever they’re researching for their targets, pick out company’s context and start doing those blanket invites that I’m sure everyone’s familiar with.

So it’s the same thing like if you were doing a marketing campaign and you’re hoping that something’s going to stick and the accounts that I want to connect with will actually respond. But I think for ABM to really work and to work well on social, a few things need to happen. And I think some of these key things that need to happen are people are missing, their approach needs to be data-driven, number one, I think. Number two, I think that those relevant stories need to be in place. And that means stories in the content you’re sharing, stories on your profile, stories when you nurture someone. So start with your existing customers and capture those best stories, I’m sure people are familiar with this approach. But then identify accounts that match the stories that you already have, that you can resonate with them, it’ll make your process a lot easier.

And then another thing that I think for this to happen or to be successful, is to have your LinkedIn profile speak to accounts that you want, the humans within those accounts. So we recently did a study with our team and found that it’s something that we’re actually sharing in an upcoming article that’s getting published on Crunchbase in a couple of weeks. And we found that about 95% of leadership sales and marketing teams are sharing irrelevant content or sharing content that’s not as personalized as it really could be. Because I’m sure you’ve seen this, there’s a lot of people that have resumes on their profiles. And sales teams are talking about their sales awards, their biggest closes, their sales accomplishments. But they’re only showing prospects that they’re looking to close a deal rather than building that relationship based on value.

Because I know from my perspective, if I see a salesperson that’s all about them and what they’ve done on their profile, it kind of gives me pause to actually accept that connection. Because I feel like two seconds later, they’re going to try to sell me, they’re going to try to set me up on a demo or just kind of engage in that spam like approach on LinkedIn and I’m kind of weary of it.

Matt:  Where have you seen the best, I guess, implementations of these kinds of programs? I mean, is it coming from marketing? Is it something that is originated from sales? Is it more organic where you have some sales reps that did engage in this and sort of go through, for example, the virtual LinkedIn training you guys do and then has a bit of a groundswell effect internally. Where do you see the best, not just trainings, but also just real implementations and consistent leverage of these best practices?

Kristina:  We like to think of it as like marketing specifically for sales because companies are always going to need lead gen, demand gen. Brand awareness, that’s never going to go away. This like a supplemental thing that maybe they don’t have the capacity to do, or maybe they’re not sure, or how to do it. But typically when we are working with sales leaders, we can discuss with them, what’s the value that they want or they have seen with their customers or with prospects? Because it’s not necessarily the value that’s being communicated in the messaging they’re getting or the content or whatever they’re getting from marketing. So typically when we work just with sales for specific selling conversations, whether it’s LinkedIn based, email live. That’s where we see the most success.

Matt:  Talk a little bit about, as well, you guys did this very successful event a few weeks ago, Stop the Sales Drop. And you pulled on just a ton of really great presenters, I was lucky enough to be included in the group as well. Stop the Sales Drop, it may not seem intuitive to some people, but I really like angle. Talk a little bit about where that originated and what that means.

Kristina:  Yeah, so our main business is Personal ABM. Our key metric is revenue, so we were having … as a lot of people are having, we were having … our clients were experiencing as well, I meant to say. Sales conversations were stalled, they were paused, they were scaling back, they were totally dead in the water. So because we saw a shift in the way people were doing business, so this was all something that we came up with in April of this year, April, 2020. We figured we’d come together and educate not only for ourselves, but for our clients, for our prospects, for the community as a whole. B2B sales and marketing leaders, especially the strategic level decision makers and things like that. That just had to figure out how we can work together and grow together.

So there’s always going to be an outside force, whether it’s internal or external or a pandemic, hopefully never again. But people are always going to experience sales trough, sales dip, sales plateaus, so that was the idea behind Stop the Sales Drop, is how can we do this? How can we come out of this type of problem, stronger together as a community, by learning from one another? Part of the things that we do other than these trainings is that we share articles, we share videos, we have a podcast ourselves. We are just kind of community knowledge, I guess, is the best way to put it, and learn together.

Matt:  Speaking of the event, the last summit that you guys did, and I think sometimes sharing the examples of people being successful, like individual stories is really something to the most powerful. I remember you talked about a client that you had shifting their strategy that generated like a seven figure deal from an account that had been unresponsive for years. Can you talk about like, just use that as an example, talk about what did they do? And how did that work?

Kristina:  Yeah, sure, sure. But give you some context, many other supply chain in tech firms, this is what this particular sales team at Schneider, which is Schneider National, they have the big orange trucks, they’re a third party logistics provider. So they were looking to their marketing team for more leads and I think everyone equates more leads with more sales, and that’s not necessarily what was going on with them. They were only really able to advance when they looked at the numbers, one out of every five opportunities towards revenue. So they were kind of spinning their wheels in the sand, I guess and because of that 20% win rate, they knew that they needed to change something. They had initially figured the more leads that marketing can deliver, the more revenue they can produce. But it wasn’t working, both sales and marketing teams were having issues with the volume and the quality of the leads and they were just not driving that personal relevance to change.

And the sales team had the right targets and in many cases they had the right connection. So those relationships were not completely warm and not completely cold, but they just weren’t leveraging them right. So we worked with one of Schneider’s VPs of sales, she happened to be connected to Sigmas VP of logistics. But their connection and that relationship was kind of unresponsive, they were doing the general messaging for that particular industry in the logistics and three pails. They like to talk about better people, better process, better technology, or customized solutions to meet customer needs, or reliable service. So it’s very vague, very generic. They weren’t making that human to human connection, or demonstrating a competitive advantage, or helping buyers think about price.

So because of that, we kind of shifted the conversation to speak to commercial impacts on the buyer and give them a valid reason to change. So we shifted everything from the content in the profiles, content they were sharing on LinkedIn platform and social channels, email conversations. We went back to that account specific gaps and that employee or customer impacts. That VP that was semi warm, that relationship, needed to see proof that his supply chain was underserved by their current tech or their current three PL or their current way of doing things. And he needed stories to show a specific challenge Schneider had uniquely solved for a similar customer.

And because of that new personal relevance, they were able to pull the sales team through the sales cycle, as opposed to … I guess, that push and pull that sales and marketing like to do. Because of that, the prospect walk away twice, they had been unresponsive for five years, like we mentioned. And they turned them into about $2 to $3 million client over the course of like a year or two. It was pretty successful for that.

Matt:  That’s awesome. We’re going to take a quick break, pay some bills, we’ll be back with more our guests today, Kristina Jaramillo from Personal ABM. We’re going to talk more about Personal ABM strategies and tactics, we’re going to talk about the impact COVID has potentially out on that as well. We’ll be right back, this is Sales Pipeline Radio.

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Paul:  And now back to Matt and his guest.

Matt:  Welcome back to Sales Platform Radio. Thank you very much for listening today, we’re talking about Personal ABM from the President of an amazing marketing firm called Personal ABM, Kristina Jaramillo. And you guys have been doing this for a while, I’m curious if any of the strategies or tactics have changed at all since people are working from home and have changed some of their working, selling, and buying habit. And I’m curious to hear if things have gotten more difficult or if certain things have actually become more efficient and more useful, given the current working environment.

Kristina:  Yeah, that’s a good question. I think they’ve become a little more useful actually, because we’ve always based our approach on that personal relevance, again, hone in on that a million times. And sharing and leading with value, so that’s something that we’ve always done. And I think buyers now are looking for that even more, so it’s actually kind of working to an advantage in that way. Our approach has been super effected, I mean, it does going to take a longer time to get people to actually move down the funnel or closer to a sale. But as we continue to share with value and lead with value, I think that’s just going to strengthen the approach for the rest of the year.

Matt:  I would hope so. And I think that it feels like some of this is just universal and a good selling. Are there tricks to making this a consistent habit? Because I wonder if people listening to this say, “This totally makes sense, I’d like to do this.” What are some of your strategies for making this a consistent habit that is applied consistently? Because I mean, we’re talking about, I mean you roll up your sleeves and you’re doing this work on a daily, weekly basis if you want to be consistently successful at driving results. How do you recommend clients make and stick with that habit?

Kristina: I think what people have to think of when they’re making any kind of interaction, whether it’s an email, whether it’s a phone call, whether it’s a newsletter, is it relevant? Is it personal? Is it value based? Or am I pitching? Because if you’re pitching, the ABM, you can’t really pitch and have it work effectively. Otherwise you’re just kind of spamming everything else out.

So I think kind of putting yourself in the buyer’s shoes for a minute and thinking if I read this in my email, or if I listened to this message on my phone, would I actually think this person’s going to sell me? Or do I think this person’s going to build a relationship based on value and share insights with me and ways of doing things and those commercial insights? And give me like a new way of thinking? Or am I actually educating along the way and providing value to that person at the end of the day, is what it is.

Matt:  I mean, we’ve been talking mostly about LinkedIn, I mean, obviously LinkedIn is one of many channels out there. A lot of people are using Twitter, some are using Instagram, and TikTok, and others. Is there a role for other channels, especially those that may not be business oriented, but may give you some insights into what your target cares about? Like how do you recommend people think about different social channels? And then what’s appropriate to be able to bring in and use in the engagement in the conversation?

Kristina:  I think it’s kind of like a universal thing, again, going back to that value, if you’re sharing value across all the platforms and not buy our product, download our webinar, or download our white paper, whatever it is. As you’re sharing value and giving back to the audience or your followers, wherever platform they are, wherever you talk to them or engage with them. I think they’re always going to associate you with value that has to be consistent with across the board. It can’t just be that marketing’s doing it, it can’t just be that sales is doing it, or customer success. Everyone’s got to be doing it. It’s got to be an internal mindset, the whole culture of the organization. Because if they see one person that’s sharing value and then everyone else is just sharing brand based marketing, there is that disconnect. If everyone shares value and shares knowledge and just wants to collectively help their audience across all channels, across all platforms, I think that’s going to be more successful.

Matt:  Well, we’ve just got a few more minutes here, wrapping up with our guest today. I will put links to Stop the Sales Drop and some of their LinkedIn trainings in the show notes. Curious as you look back over the last few months, obviously we’re all working a little differently than we had intended and that we may have done beginning of Q1. What’s one or two things that you miss from the old normal that you’re looking forward to getting back to? And then what maybe is something that you don’t miss? That this has kind of made you realize you don’t need it, don’t want it, and aren’t going to include it in your new normal?

Kristina:  I can go different directions with that. From personal, I just miss engaging with actual people in a daily basis other than my family. What I don’t miss is receiving a lot of … on LinkedIn, especially because I talk about all the time because I’m on it like constantly. Or in my emails, I don’t miss getting the spammy, buy my stuff, sign up for my demo, get on a call type of messages. I don’t miss that. I do see that people are giving more value and I hope that does continue. I think when we were all forced to be virtual now, kind of realizing that their buyers or their audience, aren’t going to put up with it anymore. They’re not going to be hooked up with the pitchiness or the no upfront value. If I can’t learn from you, then what is it that you’re giving me in order to advance that relationship?

Matt:  I certainly hope people continue to get better at doing that and I know all the work you guys have done, Dropped the Sales Drop and with your LinkedIn training, has helped a lot of people move through that as well. So thank you for that.

Thank you everyone for listening, we unfortunately are out of time for today. I want to, again, thank my guest, Kristina Jaramillo, we will put links to her content, to their events and to some of their recordings up in our show notes. And thanks you all for listening, we will be back next week and every Thursday at 11:30 Pacific, 2:30 Eastern for another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio.

If you liked what you heard today and you want to share this episode with others in your organizations, we will have this available on demand with every past episode of Sales Pipeline Radio at salespipelineradio.com. But for today, on behalf of my great producer, Paul, this is Matt Heinz. Thanks so much for joining us for another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio.

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