As an agency, FMXA has always been mindful of the alignment of sales and marketing, and we understand that executive sponsorship is key to the success of any Account Based Marketing Programme.
With this in mind, I was delighted to attend the 2021 Global ABM Conference to further expand my knowledge of what makes an ABM campaign successful. It was particularly exciting to be able to attend the event in-person this year, after almost two years of remote, online-only events. Spread across two days, one in-person and one virtual, the conference included talks from some of the leading masterminds of the international ABM community, who spoke directly to the pain points of B2B marketing.
The building blocks of ABM success
Compared to the 2019 conference, it’s clear that many more technology vendors are now embarking on building an ABM strategy program. Over 86% of attendees had budget allocated to Account Based Marketing, with over 24% of the audience allocating 30% of their total marketing budgets on ABM programs.
Andrea Clatworthy, Global Head of ABM at Fujitsu, kicked us off by explaining the three building blocks of ABM success: executive sponsorship, finding the right ABM resources, and realistic budgets.
Andrea went on to explain that there’s no set budget per every account should be looked at with a fresh perspective, and a net-new account may require a bigger budget than an existing customer. I loved Andrea’s talk on the three Rs: Reach, Relationships, and Revenue, which explained the importance of having realistic expectations for ROI.
Tricia Stinton, UK CMO of Cognizant, explained the ways in which the pandemic has shifted our interaction with audiences. With less scope for physical events and trade shows, most of the interactions we make are now digitally-led.
Both Tricia and Andrea talked about a ‘purist’ approach to ABM—having a deep understanding of your client and scaling a one-to-one approach to one-to-few and then one-to-many as you refine your marketing formula.
As an agency, we certainly consider this deep understanding and personalization an important factor when working with clients. Our ’66 Days Back’ CISO engagement campaign for Malwarebytes focused on the human impact of malware, shining a light on stress within cybersecurity and providing personalized wellbeing subscriptions as a way of empathizing with security professionals.
The ABM challenges to avoid
Autodesk’s Judy Wilks and Christian Weiss talked around the five ways (not) to fail at ABM, with Christian sharing his challenge in getting executive sponsorship for ABM (or “another bullshit in marketing”, as it was referred to by his peers). Christian shared his advice on aligning with sales and the role of marketing in taking a longer-term view, always keeping the customer at the center of the process.
We loved his comments around how data is king and content is queen – a view shared by Tejal Patel, Senior Director of Marketing at Cisco.
At FMXA, our focus is always on the person reading the content – their worries, their capabilities, and their goals.
Looking beyond marketing to accounts and striving to reach the people within these accounts is key to successful ABM. And when we drive that engagement further, that’s when the magic happens.
Neil Berry, Global Head of Account and Deal-Based Marketing from ATOS, focused on the human aspect of technology marketing and the complexity of the B2B buyer journey. Marketers have over 9000 marketing tools to choose from, making it easy to get lost in systems when we should be focusing on building campaigns that give reach.
Neil explained how important it was to separate and differentiate deal based marketing from account based marketing, both of which are necessary for key accounts.
Holding and attending events and conferences in this ‘new normal’ can be daunting. The silver lining is that COVID has challenged us to push the boundaries of what we can do, forcing us to be creative and personalize the event experience so that everyone is comfortable, mutually respected, and safe as they network and share knowledge.
This year’s Global ABM Conference emphasized the need to look beyond the data and focus on the personal and professional goals of the individuals we market to, validating FMXA’s philosophy of humanizing technology.