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Rebranding ABM to ABE – embedding a global discipline

Last year I found myself standing in front of our global sales leadership, ready to present on Account-Based Marketing (ABM). To me, ABM was a critical approach that we needed to implement across our most important customer accounts.

However, to my audience it was just another new acronym that failed to resonate, as from the outset there was an assumption that this was purely a marketing initiative and didn’t impact the sales teams or our customers in a meaningful way.

I thought to myself ‘how can they not understand the magic that is ABM?’.

Position effectively

I needed to put myself in their shoes, and after a short amount of deliberation, I decided to rebrand ABM to ABE (Account-Based Engagement) and once again, I took the concept on the road to get the senior buy in and support I needed to implement effectively across the organisation.

This time I clearly outlined the cross-functional nature of ABE, focusing on how we needed to come together to provide a differentiated customer experience for our largest accounts. This time it worked!

Fast forward a year, with a global pandemic and the sharpest disruption to marketing strategy we’ve ever seen, the team have now delivered comprehensive ABE plans for 50+ accounts globally, based across all regions including the United States, United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Germany, Japan, Australia and Singapore.

So how did we go about doing this?

Create the internal buzz

Firstly, we took small steps to prove the account-based model, by working with our most enthusiastic and engaged Relationship Managers to organise client appreciation networking events for specific high value customers. These simple events started to create an internal buzz around the positive customer feedback we were receiving. However, we knew we could do so much more!

Take a strategic approach

Our opportunity to showcase a more strategic approach came when an account team based in London started to talk to Marketing about an upcoming client presentation to one of our largest and longest standing customers. We challenged the team on exactly what they were trying to achieve, as it appeared they wanted to pack as much content into a presentation as possible, and present it to as many people at the client account as possible. There had to be a better way.

Align to account objectives

At this point, we turned the conversation back to the account objectives, such as engaging product users, building senior relationships and introducing new capabilities into new departments at the account. After several discussions, we came up with a multi-layered engagement strategy that centered around a ‘Power Day’ experience on site at the client offices. This took a huge amount of coordination with 22 internal attendees, several branded demo booths, tailored thought leadership presentations, multiple networking sessions, user training outreach, and C-suite engagements.

We then packaged up the resulting ‘Power Day experience’ into different types of content such as videos, client quotes, interviews, articles, photographs and a summary of the presentations. We delivered this in a thoughtful way to targeted client contacts through a variety of channels, which resulted in multiple follow up meetings, group training sessions and a request from the client’s senior management team to repeat the experience in New York!  

Create internal advocates

We celebrated this success internally which helped ABE to make its mark as a new strategic approach, and as a result the team was inundated with demand from our frontline teams for similar support to be implemented for their accounts around the world. As the executive sponsor of the account, the President of S&P Global Market Intelligence also became aware of our ABE efforts and therefore became an advocate - this was a game changer!

Be flexible

More recently, the pandemic has brought office closures, working from home and a new, exclusively digital way of working. Now Power Days, or any in-person events, are no longer an option. We needed to brainstorm other ways to provide a rich and engaging experience fully tailored to a client’s needs.

An opportunity arose when one of our largest customers in the US asked for more digital training support. Rather than just simply delivering on this request, we got together to understand the added value we could provide to the customer. Our strategy was to build out a tailored microsite experience with different areas of focus that could deliver what the customer needed, but also provided a custom-built resource that provided all the account resources in one place, together with a simple user interface. This provided a personalised digital experience, immediate customer support, and a curated set of thought leadership content that aligned to the client’s strategic focus areas.

Scale effectively

Our approach has now scaled to deliver 50+ similar digital experiences and the customer feedback has been phenomenal, with more requests coming in every week. We are now expanding and investing in tailored digital events, and thinking of innovative ways to keep providing exceptional experiences that are specifically designed to a client’s needs, wherever they are in located in the world.

Amie will be speaking at our 2020 ABM conference as a Platinum speaker. To hear more of her insights, book your ticket now!

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