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Inside B2B Marketing’s ABM Conference 2020

B2B Marketing hosted its fourth annual ABM Conference on 4–5 November. Held virtually, the event was loaded with presentations on campaigns, data and insights, and technology. Kavita Singh shares the highlights from each stream


Demandbase’s Paul Gibson gave a compelling keynote about how ABM can help ensure sales and marketing alignment. He also discussed why personalisation wins, why intent is the new lead, and why measuring everything is so vital today.

He said: “ABM is proven to perform traditional methods across all of the key areas from the alignment between sales and marketing to increasing the lifetime value overall for your customers.”

On Day 2, Integrate’s Chris Wickson held a compelling session on activating omnichannel ABM for better outcomes. He outlined the five steps for precision demand generation: using marketable connected data; connecting channels; using data intelligence; using martech integrations; and utilising insights. He also listed the common pitfalls that marketers need to look out for.

These included:

  1. Using unmarketable or invalid buyer and account data.
  2. Too much technology.
  3. Not piloting or testing.
  4. Focusing on accounts, not people.
  5. Creating silos in your team and organisation.

Content and campaign execution

Several speakers gave top tips on what makes a successful ABM campaign on the first day of our conference. Capita’s Kate Owen and Omobono’s Simon McEvoy discussed The Young Money Challenge – an annual competition which encourages young people to consider the connection between money management and wider issues affecting their local and global communities. They discussed how they used ABM to maximise its sponsorship through practical tips.

Kate said: “I think for me with ABM campaigns, it really is about keeping it simple and staying true to that original idea and not making it more complicated because the rest just comes naturally.”

Digital Radish’s Renaye Edwards and Jonathan Ridley discussed how their ABM campaign soared past its KPIs during Covid-19 as Veeam and Digital Radish worked to create a one-to-one campaign to engage with selected enterprise accounts. Some top takeaways they gave from the session included:

  1. Start small, test, go bigger.
  2. Get the strategy right.
  3. Get in the right mindset.
  4. Set expectations from the start.
  5. Small team with the small agenda.
  6. Value exchange, greater than ever.

Later in the afternoon, Maeve McDonald and Ben Romberg discussed how to run an ABM campaign whilst in an alliance with another organisation. They encouraged marketers to agree on joint alignment on KPIs, utilise strategic insights, and to find your executive sponsor for both teams. They both also brought up the optimal way to understand your customers. Maeve said: “The only way you can truly develop personalisation is by knowing your customers.”

Data and insight

On Day 1, lots of B2B marketers got to dive into how they can utilise data and insights for future growth. Really B2B’s

Charlie Nicholson

went into the expectations and realities of key account selection. He discussed how intent data can be misleading when taken out of context and the common pitfalls to be aware of during account selection. Sherpa Marketing’s Pascale Smith explored the differences between partner-based marketing and customer ABM and how to understand the unique context of your alliance partners to grow them at scale.


Some 49% of B2B marketers say that personalised content is their most effective ABM channel. However, some factors that have been preventing progress with personalisation include:

  • Available tech is unable to facilitate quality level of personalisation.
  • Lack of understanding of how to use tools that are available.
  • Difficulty bringing together all personalised options to form one cohesive personalisation approach.
  • Inability to effectively measure success of personalised marketing on ROI.

Webeo’s Kirsty Dawe shared the latest findings from

B2B Marketing’s Personalisation Report

, and turned it into real-world benchmarks and tips that marketers need to consider implementing right now.

Phil Gosney and Barry Richards discussed how Transmission and Maersk Drilling were able to implement an ABM framework during Covid-19. For example, when Transmission was brought on board, the first thing it did was look for account insight into the key accounts. Two weeks of desk research were carried out and were used to create an interactive PDF. This was self-contained, easy to use, and could hold a lot of information. It was also easily digestible for sales people.

Some key tips included getting key assets into the hands of ops managers working with customers, doing ABM training for sales and ops teams, and supporting a customer-focused mentality throughout the entire business.

Sales enablement

Have you ever wondered which Friends character would be the best ABMer? The Marketing Practice’s David van Schaick discussed how to create the right environment from a sales perspective. He showed what enables sales the most using an anecdote about Jennifer Anniston and building positive associations through advertising theory. They also asked sales leaders what qualities they value the most for their environment and they cited:

  1. Credibility.
  2. Optics.
  3. Reach.
  4. Perception.
  5. Unity.

S&P Global’s Amie Stankiste explained how they’re leaning to scale effectively and think innovatively without diluting a great experience for clients. Continuing the focus on being customer-focused, Corporate Vision’s Carmen Simon’s presentation discussed how to design content based on the brain’s next move.

Her presentation brought about how to use brain science and create marketing and sales enablement content to influence your customers’ decisions. She explained that the brain decides reflexively, habitually, and in a goal-oriented way.

To top off some outstanding sessions, B2B Marketing invited delegates to join a virtual pub to wrap up the two-day conference. Thanks to everyone for attending (virtually). Stay tuned for our next digital event!

B2B Marketing ABM Report 2020

This year’s ABM report reveals where most B2B marketers are at in their journey to ABM excellence, the challenges they’re facing, and what their ultimate goals are. Download to find out more!

Buy our report now!

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