This month, I attended the Global ABM conference in London.

It’s an event held by B2B Marketing, featuring talks on the core principles of ABM (that’s Account-Based Marketing for those who don’t know).

From challenges in implementation (and how to overcome them) to case studies on how marketers are pushing new boundaries within this field – there was lots of food for thought.

Here are five things I took from the event:

1. ABM means different things to different people

For me, ABM has always seemed a bit of a marketing buzz-phrase, complicating a concept that’s actually quite simple.

Breaking down the acronym and explaining the principle behind it is key when having conversations about implementing ABM in any organisation. But being able to articulate how it will benefit individual teams is just as important.

To do this, you need to think about what each team will want from an ABM programme – as an example:

Sales: “I just need something I can execute like a personalised email, landing page, content or an event for my account(s)”

Marketing: “I want to create a programme based on a proper framework and build the right thing for growth”

Execs: “I need to address fundamental issues in alignment, budget, resources and skills to make ABM more successful”

Without doubt, these are all things you need to consider in your ABM strategy. But it’s clear the difference in people’s priorities means you need to engage all parties in the core principles of your ABM approach – before you embark on your journey. Because this will be key to getting their buy in and support with future implementation.

2. Data, data…aaand data

If one thing is certain, you need a hell of a lot of insight to execute a winning strategy. So, it makes sense to understand what you need upfront before engaging on your ABM strategy.

During a talk with Andrew Fitzgerald, Director of ABM at Kyndryl, on ‘How to build an ABM Engine for a $19B start-up’, we were taken through his strategy on initiating ABM in a billion-dollar IT company, Kyndryl.

My main takeaway was building a model for understanding customer potential – including market, internal and competitor data – is a huge factor in defining success.

Using data, Andrew and his team created a scoring system to determine lifetime value. And this was instrumental in making sure efforts were spent in the right areas; they were able to understand which customers to retain, accelerate, optimise or acquire.

Of course, it can’t be forgotten this was for a billion-dollar company (and all the efforts and resources that come with that). So, marketeers may want to start a bit smaller than a comprehensive dashboard and model. But you get the point – data matters!

3. The Metaverse is knocking

I always tend to gravitate towards talks focused on case studies when going to conferences. After all, the proof is in the pudding, right?

One which stood out to me was an agency that worked with a client operating in the HR tech space.

Their successful campaign involved getting their customers into the Metaverse, as part of their ongoing promotional activities. They even went as far as sending out Oculus devices to their hottest leads.

ABM is often associated with a long sales-cycle. Inevitably, this leads to substantial drop-off along the way. So, getting your customers and prospects to engage in meetings and see your promotions through the eyes of the Metaverse is surely a way to keep things fresh.

But is this just a passing fad or will we see other brands and agencies take up similar activities? Time will tell. But striking while the iron’s hot may reap the most success!

4. Remember the 10% rule

Keeping your customers’ attention is important, so why let it slip at the final hurdle?

Dr. Carmen Simon, from B2B decision labs, delivered an excellent closing talk on what it takes to leave a lasting impression on your customers once you’re in front of them. This is all the more important given the complexity of many B2B propositions, and the need to seal the deal with a presentation.

On average, customers will remember just 10% of a presentation after 48hrs. The lesson? Make sure they remember the 10% that matters. And yes, you can control this!

You could try introducing phrases in patterns and using images during presentations. That way, you can help your customer retain the right information. But it’s also important to make them work for it. You’ll often be told to keep things as simple as possible to make an impression. But, in fact, adding a little complexity to retain interest and work the brains of your audience is very effective.

As an example, Dr. Simon showed us two data cloud diagrams from a study she’d work on – one more complex, one less so. The former garnered a 24% better recall rate by participants. So there you have it – use detail, but use it sparingly.

5. The rule of 80/20

Otherwise known as ‘Pareto’s Principle’, this infers that roughly 80% of outcomes come from 20% of causes. This is a principle that, to my surprise, turns out to be evident in most aspects of life. And it’s the foundation on which many ABM principles are built on.

To offer a Layman example, I only wear about 20% of my wardrobe and I wear it 80% of the time. I make this decision because these are the clothes I like the best and feel most comfortable wearing.

While this example may seem very unlike marketing, we can apply this same principle to what a customer portfolio means to an organisation. Most of their business will inevitably come from a select group of customers, and these are the customers who often provide the greatest collective financial value or potential to the business.

This really helps to put the value of ABM into context. It’s all about targeting and focusing on the customers / accounts who will provide you with the most value; enabling an organisation to hone its time and resources on what matters most. In our current economy, this is now more important than ever.

And that’s a wrap…

So, what did I learn?

Here’s a bitesize recap. If you want to make a success of ABM, you need to:

  • educate and inspire your team to get their buy-in from the start;
  • harness your data and regularly consult it;
  • keep your strategy fresh to engage your audience across multiple touch points;
  • and most importantly, focus on what matters (80/20).

If you want to hear more about how we at TMWB plan and deliver ABM campaigns for our clients, please get in touch.

Author: Joe Liquorish