The Elephant in the ABM Room.

Jaycen Thorgeirson
Founder & Chief Storyteller
Photo by:

Image by Dr. Seuss

Horton here’s a lead generation tactic: “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
– Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who!

In the famous Dr. Seuss book, a speck of dust is revealed to be a full planet and ecosystem. In his mission to protect Whoville, Horton the elephant is ridiculed and harassed until the other animals take note of Whoville and help Horton protect it.

In an account-based marketing program, we too must be deliberate about how we make noise and the methods we use to get attention. Otherwise, we miss a crucial step – that of getting attention. If nobody pays attention, how are they going to believe that your universe is real?

This is really important stuff for marketers to get right, as an Account-based Marketing or ABM approach is being proven to help businesses win big time!

According to SiriusDecisions, a full 91% of B2B Marketing teams that are using account-based marketing (ABM) see larger deals from their target accounts than from non-target accounts. Your programs can be even more effective, provided you’re able to get the attention of your desired audience and then start building experiences that build trust.

So, how can you ensure that your message doesn’t fall on deaf ears? Let’s take a few lessons from Dr. Seuss’ playbook.

“ASAP. Whatever that means. It must mean, ‘Act swiftly awesome pachyderm!’”

Being present when the need arises is crucial to offering value to your prospective audience.

By understanding the pain points your target audience is experiencing, when they experience it and how you can help alleviate it, are all critical pieces to get right in order to deliver meaningful engagement. It’s not about being first but rather being relevant at the right time.

This is where getting the data right can make a huge difference. It’s the age old wisdom of input = output. It starts with us digging into the data to understand your audience. This work starts with building your Ideal Customer Profile to enable you to get the inputs right and inform your approach. There’s tons of tools and best practices for B2B Marketers that can also assist in leveraging intent data to deliver at the right moment for your most susceptible audience

“ ‘Horton, the kangaroo has sent Vlad!’ ”
‘Vlad? I know two Vlads. One is a cute little bunny that brings me cookies. The other is bad Vlad. Which Vlad?’
‘Which one do you think?’
‘Bad Vlad?’
‘Good call.’ ”

Your brand/product/opinion’s reputation precedes you. Which Vlad are you?

If you haven’t done enough to ensure that you are viewed as a reliable expert outside of the sales funnel, you can be fighting an uphill reputation battle.

According to a Forrester Research Study, 68% of B2B customers prefer to research independently online and with 60% of buyers choosing not communicate with sales reps as their primary information source.

Given that the number of people involved in B2B solution purchases has climbed from an average of 5.4 two years ago to 6.8 today makes it more important than ever that marketers make sure the brand is being represented (online and offline) in a meaningful way. Employing multiple strategies within inbound and outbound marketing efforts and getting input from the frontline of the organization, is a sure fire way to seeing if you’re cutting through with the right message.

“ ‘We’ve GOT to make noises in greater amounts! So, open your mouth, lad! For every voice counts!’ ”

The moral of the book (spoiler alert) wasn’t that the loudest noises got heard. It was actually that when one small voice made the right noise, at the right time, the other animals heard it and believed Horton.

Regardless of our role in an organization, it’s up to us to add value to every interaction with peers, prospects, clients, etc. Often it’s not about being the loudest voice in the echo chamber of LinkedIn experts and professional account managers. It’s about consistently building value through delivering on the why and how for our key audience.

Horton was ultimately successful in helping to protect Whoville with his obsessive and relentless approach to convince others of its existence. Perhaps we can learn something about his approach that will help us in convincing others of ours.

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