The Proof’s in the Pilot: Growing in Untapped Markets with ABM – Paul Russell, Vertiv

Kimberly Conklin
Kimberly Conklin Posts: 202 6senser
edited June 18 in Inspire 24

Paul Russell, Global Customer Marketing Director at Vertiv, took us through their successful ABM pilot in Australia. By focusing on the mid-market and leveraging 6sense, they generated a $1M pipeline in just ten weeks. Paul explained how 6sense was instrumental in identifying opportunities with high intent, which allowed Vertiv to accelerate their growth rapidly and effectively. Here’s what Vertiv learned from their ambitious project. 

Setting the Scene 

The modern B2B buying journey has drastically changed. According to Frost and Sullivan, 81% of B2B technical content users prefer to self-serve, and McKinsey reports that buyers spend only 6% of their total buying time with sales reps per vendor. Moreover, 70% of buyers prefer no interaction with sales reps at all, and 41% are willing to spend up to $500K via digital self-service. Recognizing these shifts, Vertiv knew their approach needed to evolve. 

Project Opera: The Foundations 

To address these changes, Vertiv launched Project Opera, a six-month pilot to test a new GTM strategy in Sydney, far from executive oversight. They chose this underpenetrated mid-market region due to its strong local sales leadership and an Australian culture of honest feedback. 

The main goals of Project Opera were to: 

  • Target the mid-market via a 1-to-many strategy. 
  • Develop demand programs. 
  • Ensure efficient and effective ad spend. 
  • Align sales and marketing. 
  • Improve contact data quality. 
  • Train BDR teams for better engagement. 
  • Pass opportunities to channel resellers. 

Engagement Plan 

Vertiv used the 6sense platform integrated with Eloqua Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) to understand market behavior. They focused on important keywords and topics to identify potential customers. They defined an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) for mid-market companies and reviewed their contact data to ensure they were targeting the right accounts. 

Their GTM strategy started with understanding their Total Addressable Market (TAM), which included mid-market enterprises with over $10M in revenue. They narrowed down from 120,000 companies with over 100 employees to 35,000 companies with over 500 employees, focusing on key industries. Among these, they identified 2,181 accounts that were actively looking for solutions—about 6% of their TAM. 

Execution and Results 

Vertiv surrounded high-intent accounts with customised ads on LinkedIn, Google Ads, 6sense, and YouTube. This programmatic advertising significantly increased unique visitors to and reduced CPM costs by 90%. 

Their BDR outreach was also key. They trained BDRs for personalised outreach, which led to: 

  • Acquisition of new contacts and enrichment of existing ones. 
  • Sales alerts for rapid response to target account web behaviour. 
  • A 12% increase in call connect rates compared to non-ABM outreach. 
  • BDRs find, on average, 4 qualified opportunities per week, delivering a $1 million pipeline in the first month. 

Key Metrics 

Within 4-10 weeks, Vertiv saw impressive results: 

  • $1M pipeline delivered within 4 weeks of BDR engagement. 
  • 80% increase in marketing-found pipeline from the prior quarter. 
  • First order received within 7 weeks of BDR engagement. 
  • 428% increase in target account web visitors. 
  • 320% increase in unique visitors per target account. 

Keys to Piloting Success 

The success of Project Opera boiled down to: 

  • Strong leadership alignment and a dedicated ABM focus team. 
  • Starting small, executing strongly, and iterating quickly. 
  • Continuous testing and learning, even from mistakes. 
  • Demonstrating financial impact to secure buy-in. 

Next Steps for Vertiv 

Vertiv is now moving to predictive analytics to better identify accounts likely to buy, estimate potential spend, and predict deal closure timelines. Project Opera demonstrated the power of ABM in untapped markets, and Vertiv is excited to scale this success across other regions.