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Awards case study: Find out HP Apollo won out for best account-based marketing for its campaign

Learn how HP Apollo and Transmission managed to win out for its account-based marketing campaign through sales and marketing alignment, creative messaging and key account management.

About the client company

HP is a market-leading manufacturer of PCs, printers, large format printers and 3D printers

Strategy – broader business issues the company is facing

HP had a very siloed approach to sales and marketing across its various product lines. Large, multi-national organisations were treated as distinct customers of HP’s PC, Office Print, Large Format Print and 3D Print solutions, rather than “customers of HP’s broad portfolio”.

Transmission needed a more joined-up approach that would align sales and marketing teams around a common goal of generating more business from 4,000 target accounts.

However, to do so, it needed to make some significant leaps in terms of:

  • Sales and Marketing alignment 
  • Leveraging data and insights to identify the right accounts 
  • Account mapping and profiling to identify the right individuals 
  • Always-on visibility of account interest and activity 
  • Developing tailored messaging and content 
  • Creating opportunities for sales to engage with the right audiences 
  • Equipping and enabling the sales teams to be more effective 

Objectives of the campaign

HP wanted Transmission to create as much influence within target accounts as possible during the full lifecycle of the decision-making process. And for many deals that meant looking at things over a period of years, not months.

Transmission needed an ABM campaign that would influence organisations sometimes years before they were working on RFPs. But Transmission also needed a strategy that adapted as the RFP date grew closer. This moved the traditional understanding of ’campaign objectives‘ into new territory. And so, Transmission developed a benchmarking model that looked at ‘three Cs’: 

  • Coverage (across the account list)
  • Contacts (number of net new contacts created and depth throughout the BDU) 
  • Context (Ongoing analysis on topics accounts are consuming)

The target audience

The programme focused on C-Suite, Finance, Procurement, Facilities and IT personas at HP’s acquisition accounts – enterprises (1,000+ sta) in EMEA.

Media, channels or techniques used 

The five-year plan

To help HP reengineer its approach to marketing, Transmission developed a completely new ABM methodology that employed different targeting, messaging, and tactics depending on each target account’s position in the buying cycle over a period of five years. Insights and data was any given target account five years out from an RFP. Was it two years away? Was it actively looking at suppliers? Its insights allowed Transmission to position 4,000 accounts in different buckets depending on their immediate pain points and priorities.

Transmission then held a workshop with HP’s sales team and customer-facing functions to scour the data and use their own personal knowledge of target accounts. Each was then scored depending on their value, using inputs from the sales team and the intelligence it could gather from predictive analytics platforms. Furthermore, Transmission set up a targeting approach based on job roles. 

  • Tier 3 (>2 years from RFP): C-Suite/Director levels 
  • Tier 2 (<2 years from RFP): This is a critical point of relationship, so Transmission continued to target senior positions but also lower levels. However, direct 1:1 activity focused on senior relationships. 
  • Tier 1 (At RFP stage): The level below C-Suite

As the programme matured and insights grew, accounts moved up or down the tiering groups until Transmission had a confirmed renewal date. Consequently, the messaging and activation tactics it used to engage them also evolved

Activation 

Activation tactics included paid social, premium display, programmatic, content syndication, email marketing, social selling, direct mail, and events. Transmission mixed and matched tactics depending on the tiers in which accounts were placed. 

For example… 

  • Tier 3: For accounts furthest away from RFP, the key was brand awareness – drip feeding HP’s thought leadership to ensure the new brand message was in the consciousness of the audience. Content would typically be activated via display, programmatic, and paid social. 
  • Tier 2: As accounts moved closer to RFP, tactics became much more focused and customised. Transmission created personalised one-to-one reports and delivered them directly to key stakeholders using social selling. It also created account intelligence reports, uncovering specific insights for target accounts and producing detailed sales enablement decks to support HP’s sales team in their one-to-one prospecting. 
  • Tier 1: When accounts were closest to RFP, Transmission switched back to display, programmatic, and paid social, but this time messaging evolved from brand to product.

Creative and messaging

Its creative, messaging, and content strategy needed to be impactful, but also uid to reflect the position accounts were in the buyer journey. 

To do this, Transmission needed to: 

  • Develop a unique value proposition, a creative ‘big idea’ and a compelling story that articulated the commercial and technical value HP offered. 
  • Position HP as an innovative, forward-thinking, disruptive partner that could help customers stay ahead of change. 
  • Articulate why HP was the strategic partner of choice using real use cases and proof points. 

This became the backbone of Moments That Matter, a creative and messaging proposition designed to help key decision makers reinvent the future direction of their business. 

  • From developing innovative new products, to delivering operational excellence.
  • From enhancing user experiences, to architecting security and compliance strategies.
  • The creative and content built on this framework helped reposition HP in the minds of prospects.
  • Both as a provider of valuable thought leadership for accounts that were years away from the RFP stage, to a trusted partner for those who were ready to buy. 

Timescales of the campaign

  • Research/planning: November 2018 – February 2019 
  • Launch: March 2019
  • Timeframe: Always-on

Results

Apollo is an ongoing campaign, and the insights from the campaign insights will become richer over a period of 3+ years. However, the results for the first quarter of activity were regarded as a huge success. 

Coverage: The campaign had reached 51% of companies on the target account list, and engaged with 29%. 

Contacts (number of net new contacts created): 1,362 net new contacts created. 

Context (Ongoing analysis on topic’s accounts are consuming): 75% of engaged accounts were engaging with/consuming content that is within HP’s key pillars.

“By reaching and influencing our target accounts over a much longer period, with tactics and messaging that adapt in an intelligent and fluid way, we have completely reengineered the way we think about ABM. It’s united sales and marketing and has already helped us build relationships with hundreds of accounts. We fully expect this strategy to continue to deliver over the long term.”

Richard Robbins, UK Personal Systems Marketing Lead, HP Inc

B2B Marketing Awards 2020

This submission won the award for 'Best account-based marketing' at the B2B Marketing Awards this year.

Find out who made the shortlist here!

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