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Account-Based Marketing (ABM) with Daniel Cafiero at Seagate

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is an emerging go to market tactic used in enterprise sales. Dan joins the show to define it, compare and contrast with traditional marketing, talk about ABM selling, and so much more.

Show Description

Where B2B marketers come to talk sales. 15-minute interviews published every Monday and Wednesday morning. For heads of marketing and founders who support a sales team.


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Show Notes

Daniel Cafiero is a senior program manager at Seagate Technologies responsible for supporting go to market for their Lyve cloud offering. In this role, he is using an account-based marketing (ABM) approach.

Daniel joins the Pipeline Meeting podcast to talk about what is account-based marketing, how it compares/contrasts with old school marketing, what ABM selling is, how he owns outcomes, the pipeline development team, implementing ABM successfully, and more.

If you think of an enterprise sales cycle, you would use ABM to engage multiple stakeholders throughout a lengthy sales cycle. It is built for 'dark funnels' where there's a lot happening that is not on your radar as a marketer or salesperson.

But it's not easy. It's a team sport that requires committing to people, process, and technology to change how you go to market. There is so much to unpack with this topic. This interview will give you an overview and a lot to think about.

Follow Daniel Cafiero on LinkedIn:
Learn more about Seagate Technology's Lyve Cloud:


[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:00:00] Harris Kenny: Welcome to Pipeline Meeting where marketers come to talk about sales. I'm your host Harris, Kenny, and I'll be joined by guest every Monday and Wednesday for brief 15 minute interviews where we'll share tips that you can apply to support your sales team and help them close more deals.

[00:00:15] Harris Kenny: If you don't have time to listen to this whole episode, you can skip ahead in the show notes in your podcast player, or find the transcript at All the episodes are published there.

[00:00:28] Defining Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

[00:00:28] Dan Cafiero: A lot of what my job is, is targeting buying committees at certain companies, whether big or small. And most enterprise companies are 20 people plus in the buying committee, they all have different roles require different messaging, different tactics, different ways of reaching out.

[00:00:42] Dan Cafiero: That's ABM in a nutshell.

[00:00:43] Dan Cafiero: versus a smaller company where maybe one person's wearing many hats. You just really have to target one or two people.

[00:00:49] Dan Cafiero: But when you're trying to get the whole buying committee, it's important to understand the whole process from research to evaluation all the way through purchase and then implementation.

[00:00:58] Harris Kenny: When you're doing an ABM approach, or let's say you've got someone, you know, C level person, or you've got a fractional advisor who's saying, look, we need to implement AB M within our organization. We wanna think about that for 2023.

[00:01:11] Harris Kenny: What does it look like? You know, you're wanting influence a buying committee, but in what way? How are you thinking about that as a marketer, especially for someone who's not done this before?

[00:01:19] Dan Cafiero: You're targeting a set of accounts, marketing's targeting 'em, sales is targeting 'em. What ways are you targeting 'em? How are you targeting them together?

[00:01:25] Dan Cafiero: ABM platforms can help with that cuz it's surfaces, marketing insights and trends from various data patterns, and then it sends them to sales so they can better understand the account at a holistic overview level and then do more of a deep dive at the prospect or contact level.

[00:01:39] ABM vs. old school marketing

[00:01:39] Harris Kenny: It seems like in this way when you're taking this go-to-market approach that marketing and sales have multiple touchpoints, multiple support across this sales versus maybe a simpler go to market where marketing generates the lead, someone fills out the form, you know, the lead gets qualified by an SDR or something like that gets handed off, and then sales takes it from there.

[00:01:59] Harris Kenny: It sounds like you're saying marketing's surface area is significantly larger under an ABM approach versus maybe under a more conventional approach. Is that right?

[00:02:09] Dan Cafiero: Definitely, and I think the way you described it is kind of the old school type of marketing, right? You bring in a lead through a program and then they go into a nurture, and then they have to score out to get raised to sales.

[00:02:19] Dan Cafiero: With different ABM platforms, you can kind of eliminate all of that and just surface two sales through the platforms, the contacts that are showing intent, showing engagement that are really working with you and for you.

[00:02:30] Dan Cafiero: So you can really push those straight to sales and they can do outreach on their own versus waiting for a contact to be essentially scored and then removed.

[00:02:39] Dan Cafiero: The email nurture is kind of just like where leads go to die. I think everyone's kind of used to it. People tune it out.

[00:02:44] Dan Cafiero: So with these platforms, it's more so let me surface to you, week over week, top engaged accounts, top engaged contacts, accounts, and a contact showing intent.

[00:02:52] Dan Cafiero: Intent's all about dark funnel. So it's all of those pre-research keywords that people are looking for and you know that, if someone at the very top C-suite wants to push an initiative, 20 people at to company will all start Googling key terms. So then you'll know that a project's about to kick off.

[00:03:07] Dan Cafiero: And if you can see that intent ahead of time, then you can get ahead of the research phase and really helped guide them along.

[00:03:12] Dan Cafiero: A lot of times people are like, well I have a problem. But you know, one area and the company has a problem. Maybe another area has a similar problem, or maybe there's two problems that can be solved by one product.

[00:03:21] Dan Cafiero: You have to understand the different problems and pain points of all the different people, identify who are the internal drivers, and then work with them to do the work for you internally. Get everything set up and approved through the necessary channels. But intent is just really great along those lines, cuz it just helps you get ahead of it.

[00:03:37] Dan Cafiero: They call it like the dark funnel, right? So it's before anyone's really de anonymized or identified. But it just helps you understand if accounts are high intent, like 80% of the people are searching for key terms that are relevant to you, then you want to start reaching out to 'em. Not necessarily with branded content, but maybe you want to hook them with something unbranded, maybe a research report, like a survey.

[00:03:55] Dan Cafiero: Something more top of funnel and then you can kind of go from there.

[00:04:01] ABM selling

[00:04:01] Harris Kenny: Is there a way that marketing can structure or design the way that they're providing these leads so that it doesn't feel like more work for sales?

[00:04:10] Dan Cafiero: I think with ABM you need constant open communication with sales, letting them know what's going on.

[00:04:14] Dan Cafiero: In the past, a lot marketing's just been like, we're running a hundred programs, here they all are, figure it out. And sales is already really busy doing sales, right?

[00:04:21] Dan Cafiero: With ABM platforms. It's Hey, let me give you this platform. Let me teach you how to use it and it'll make your life easier. Because instead of going one by one through an account and trying to find leads, I'm gonna surface for you the top engaged leads.

[00:04:34] Dan Cafiero: The top engaged contacts, the one showing high intent. I'm gonna give you the tools and the toolkit to really make your life easier versus like, here's a hundred leads from different programs. Learn all about. The programs, learn how to follow up. That's just asking too much. The whole idea. We're trying to make it easier for them.

[00:04:49] Dan Cafiero: Shorten sales cycles, increase velocity. Here's the technology, here are the tools. Here's how you do it. I still send one-offs all the time. Hey, have you seen this account X, Y, Z? But I also train the team, week over week, we're constantly doing trainings because they need to understand and become ABM sellers.

[00:05:07] Dan Cafiero: ABM isn't just marketing, it's also sales. They need to become ABM sellers. We're ABM marketers and sellers all, all in one.

[00:05:13] Owning outcomes

[00:05:13] Harris Kenny: My experience, there are a lot of marketers out there who seem a little bit more detached from outcomes.

[00:05:17] Harris Kenny: Like, look, we've got the cool tools, we've got the latest stuff. Whether you hit your numbers is up to you, but it doesn't, it doesn't seem like you approach it that way. Are you, are you weird? Is it because of your background? Is it because of your team right now? Like, why do you think that is?

[00:05:32] Dan Cafiero: I'm definitely weird So yeah, I come from a very background, like you mentioned, agency brat over here. Like every day I have end of day deliverables for dozens of clients and I would just kind of pick it up and run with it. I was an account guy. I'm always like diving into everything, trying to help in any way I can.

[00:05:48] Dan Cafiero: My current team structure is really awesome. I love my team. Shout out to Seagate. In a larger company and in the marketing org, everyone's kind of niche in their role and sometimes they don't wanna move outside of that.

[00:05:58] Dan Cafiero: ABM is like a full contact sport. It's totally integrated across all the different functions in the org. And it's my job to know how everyone else functions, then marry it all together into something that works for the team.

[00:06:10] Dan Cafiero: You gotta like roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty because if you don't then nothing's gonna happen.

[00:06:15] Dan Cafiero: I used to be a brand creative kind of guy where it'd be, here's your creative, go for it. And then I transitioned into media strategy, ABM, and now it's this is a meeting we booked and pipeline generated. Going all the way back to a BANT lead from a year ago. Like that's how full funnel you have to be when considering like what's going on.

[00:06:33] Dan Cafiero: Everyone's focus is driving pipeline, right? You want to be successful and you want the company to be successful, so it's

[00:06:38] Pipeline development

[00:06:38] Harris Kenny: Yeah, you introduced me to a term that was new to me that in our last chat you kept using this acronym, PDT, and I had to embarrass myself and I will do, I'll do so publicly now. What does PDT stand for and what does that look like in your job today?

[00:06:52] Dan Cafiero: Pipeline development team, a step below the ISR/SDR function. They essentially help book the meetings based on the leads coming in or doing cold prospecting. I've been at agencies managing call teams. In the past I've been at startups where the SDRs report to sales, so separate.

[00:07:08] Dan Cafiero: It's so nice having PDT sit under marketing cuz it's really like we're one big team. We're all working together. I'm getting so much great feedback in real time from this team. We meet weekly, across multiple different meetings. I get all the feedback I need to then update my programs and then month over month I'm sending emails to everyone, letting 'em know how great we're doing.

[00:07:27] Dan Cafiero: We talk about the account journey. Showing like one intent signal a year ago, all the way through to a meeting being booked. And how I taught the team essentially to identify these key intent signs and how we surface them week over week in reporting. How they then marry that with different outreach sequences.

[00:07:43] Dan Cafiero: If they see certain terms, whether it's early stage vendor evaluation or early stage research. Unbranded research versus late stage vendor evaluation. They know what outreach sequence to put the contact in, based off the intent . Signals. Once again, shortening those deal cycles, increasing velocity,

[00:07:58] Harris Kenny: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:07:59] Dan Cafiero: smarter, smart, it's just like sales intelligence, right?

[00:08:02] Dan Cafiero: It's like it's using marketing insights to create sales intelligence and really drive things forward.

[00:08:08] Harris Kenny: I feel like the conventional way of this is just sales, marketing generating leads. They come to the website, they fill out the form, marketing passes 'em over sales saying, yeah, these leads are bad, and then they go out and build their own pipeline and then marketing keeps running ad campaigns. I feel like that's like the conventional way, right?

[00:08:24] Dan Cafiero: a hundred percent. And that's why ABM is so great because you can't really say that anymore. Cause it's more like, okay, like all of your insights. Going back real time to me, I'm updating the platforms week over week. Things are changing. So now the only thing is, are you using it or not? Because I can track the platform usage, I understand who the top performers are, who the bottom performers are, and then I pair the two together so they can share insights and learnings.

[00:08:46] Dan Cafiero: And now everyone's using it. In the past year, one platform went up 150% and then in another platform in the past month, they went up like 300% in usage. Cuz it was so easy. We use Tech Target, they have a click to add function, it drops contacts right into your CRM.

[00:09:00] Dan Cafiero: It just removes a lot of manual steps of plugging in the data. A lot of these sales reps are doing so much manual work. If you can just make something easier for them, of course they're gonna want to do it.

[00:09:09] Harris Kenny: They can just sell

[00:09:10] Dan Cafiero: Yeah, exactly.

[00:09:11] Implementing ABM

[00:09:11] Harris Kenny: Have you had to develop any technical skills?

[00:09:13] Dan Cafiero: I'm a freak. I love listening to podcasts every day. I'm always trying to learn new things and because I'm in this field that's in its infancy, ABM is new, so I'm constantly trying to learn, teach myself new things, but also create new things.

[00:09:26] Dan Cafiero: Half the things I'm doing right now, no one's done before. It's really exciting to be in that space. Whereas, you know, if you're in a more traditional field, a lot of people are like, oh, like, do it this way cause this is how we do it. In ABM it's like, there's no way that you've been doing it because, we're doing it for the first time right now, so let's try everything.

[00:09:41] Dan Cafiero: Let's test, let's iterate, let's figure it out together. But that's just the exciting part.

[00:09:46] Harris Kenny: How do you roll that out? I mean, are people excited about it? Do you see people's performance? So you're, I guess, measured by platform use and.

[00:09:53] Dan Cafiero: Platform usage, the amount of activities, there's tons of different way to look at it. I'll share it with the team leads, I'll share it with the teams. in the calls when we review meetings, everyone talks about their week and it's like, oh, one guy's doing really well and he's using the platforms.

[00:10:06] Dan Cafiero: So start using the platforms and then they'll get on a call with him, be like, how are you using them? It gets to a point where eventually everyone either gets it or they don't. And I'm happy that you know a lot of people are.

[00:10:15] Dan Cafiero: ABM really is three pillars. Digital activation, marketing automation, and sales enablement.

[00:10:19] Dan Cafiero: So you have to know all three to know campaigns, you have to know creative. You have to know UTMs for tracking. You have to know what messaging works with the audience, how to set it up, what integrations to do. The platform's constantly changing. So that's one that's just, you gotta dive in and kind of figure it out on your own.

[00:10:34] Dan Cafiero: Regarding sales enablement, that's key, right? Because if you can't show success early, You're kind of screwing yourself. So you have to keep open lines of communication. You have to let people under understand it's gonna take a while. I've been here for about a year and a half and it's taken a good chunk of time to get the platform, set them up, get people engaged, and now we're seeing the results.

[00:10:52] Harris Kenny: And you're doing this with a small team, is it

[00:10:55] Dan Cafiero: Party of . One.

[00:10:56] Harris Kenny: Yeah, I was gonna say, I'm pretty sure it's just you.

[00:10:59] Dan Cafiero: Yeah, so I'm the only one doing ABM, but obviously I have an amazing team. They're just so supportive and they believe in me in the program and they empower me. They're like just go after it and get it done.

[00:11:07] Dan Cafiero: They've just always had my back and they've always just been super supportive. Even when I tell 'em I'm doing something like this, that's amazing. We want you to do stuff like this. Get out there and do it. And for me, that's important cuz I've, I've been at places where they're like, we don't know what to do with you.

[00:11:20] Dan Cafiero: And I'm like, you don't need to know. I can do me all by myself, but I'm finally at a place where I'm like being supported and being uplifted. So it's really wonderful just to, to be at Seagate and be around such amazing teammates.

[00:11:31] Harris Kenny: You don't need to do anything. Just let me do my

[00:11:33] Dan Cafiero: Yeah. It's like, let me be, wear it all by myself.

[00:11:38] Getting into ABM

[00:11:38] Harris Kenny: Is there anything we didn't cover, anything that you feel like you just wanted to mention that's on your mind before we wrap?

[00:11:44] Dan Cafiero: When I started at transmission, it was called, UK based agency and that's when I learned ABM and that was like four years ago.

[00:11:50] Dan Cafiero: We started off by doing like a one-to-one and it's funny cuz when people hire me for bm they're like, we want you to do all of it and you can't really do it. All of it.

[00:11:57] Dan Cafiero: Right now I'm doing a lot of one to many and that makes sense with the budget and just the amount of accounts, but When I started, we were doing one-to-one, one to few and it's kind of crazy cuz you put so much effort into a program that if it doesn't work, it doesn't work and you're kind of screwing yourself.

[00:12:10] Dan Cafiero: I would just recommend to anyone out there looking for a role in ABM, get specifics, one to many is the way to go. And Forester, just put out a whole report about this. One-to-one is dead. If you're gonna spend like 50 K or something on like a one-to-one program like we did so for a client where we found out their head of it loves Formula One.

[00:12:27] Dan Cafiero: So we had invited him to an event. And that booked a meeting and it was great and that was successful. I haven't really seen much other one-to-one success like that. One to few. We like did custom reports. The app was pretty successful. It was like a 10% conversion rate, but this was years ago, right?

[00:12:41] Dan Cafiero: Moving forward, I think what's happening is with less budget, less team, less people, doing more with less, you need to use platforms to your advantage versus, you know, relying on agencies and teams to execute these huge campaigns that might have minimal returns whereas the platforms you pay for, you set them up and then they kind of run themselves at a point because you train and enable everyone.

[00:13:01] Dan Cafiero: Across my org we have everyone using different platforms that I'm managing and it's really wonderful cause it's making their lives easier versus me being like, all right, I wanna do a campaign, I'm gonna need all of you to do all of this work for me, and then I'm gonna take all the credit. No, I get to like train them, enable them, lift them up and talk about it.

[00:13:18] Dan Cafiero: And that's the difference, like you don't wanna be the person dragging the team down. You wanna be the one lifting them up.

[00:13:24] Harris Kenny: That's like an incredible contrast though. That makes a ton of sense. And that's really interesting about the one-to-one verse one to many, and that's good advice.

[00:13:32] Closing Credits

[00:13:32] Harris Kenny: That's all for now. You can find show notes at intro The theme music for Pipeline Meeting is by Neighbourhood Vandal. If you learned something, consider sharing this show with a friend. Thanks for listening.