Insights on ABM from B2 Award-Winner David Caffey

December 11, 2019

By Denise McDevitt

ANA

The focus on account-based marketing (ABM) is growing, especially in the B2B sector. Aligning marketing and sales has become a necessity for B2B marketers focused on growth, and ABM helps target more profitable buyers and guide them through the decision-making process. David Caffey, managing partner for North America at MomentumABM, shares the insights into ABM that have garnered his agency multiple B2 Awards in 2019.

 

Q. More and more marketers are turning to account-based marketing. Why?

Because it works. We have been helping large tech vendors sell to their key global accounts for the best part of a decade now and count the total value of deals we have helped close to be upwards of $90 billion. That sort of measurable, scalable, and repeatable success makes using ABM tactics an absolute no-brainer.

 

Q. What makes it unique? And unique to B2B? And how do you it differently vs. other approaches?

For me, it is the level of strategic insight and target personalization that sets ABM apart from other approaches. The depth and breadth of our research, both qualitative and quantitative, gives us an unrivalled view of who our customer is, what they want, how we can best approach them and, crucially, how we can help them solve their business objectives. It is unique to B2B because the customer data sets are much smaller than B2C, and that allows us to reach a different level of precision.

 

Q. What does it take to get started with ABM? What data do I need? What information? How much time, investment, etc.?

The first thing you need is a new mindset. If you go into it expecting immediate results right away, you will be disappointed. Can we secure a $100 million deal in six months? You never know, we might get lucky, but probably not. But give us three years and I say we could get the strategic infrastructure in place to nurture the relationships required to get that deal over the line.

On a more practical level, and if you’re starting from scratch, I’d recommend going with a pilot program first. Target a couple of accounts where you already have a foothold and a strong existing relationship with the customer is the most likely way to secure the early wins required to release more budget to develop out your program more.

 

Q. You worked with SAP to tackle some real challenges — align their siloed functions, deliver ABM at scale, bring greater consistency to their sales and marketing assets, etc. — share a bit about their situation and what was the most challenging element for SAP to adjust? Why?

SAP’s main challenge is one that we face regularly with our clients. These types of organizations are big beasts and they struggle to find the necessary alignment between their internal functions–specifically between their sales and marketing teams. To solve this, we brought their sales and marketing teams together for a series of kick-off sessions. The compilation and synthesis of the gathered insights informed an overall strategy, but also fostered internal relationships and created the necessary stakeholder buy-in at SAP that really helped this program become the success it has turned out to be.

 

Q. Now the solutions you needed to provide for Infosys were quite different. I love Salil Parekh’s call to action — “We have set the goal of increasing our relevance to our clients.” Share a bit of the behind the scenes on how you found the right solutions that delivered new effective ways to engage the senior stakeholders across their top global accounts.

To change the perception of Infosys within their key global accounts we needed to be targeting the right people with the right message, but identifying those targets is the toughest part of our job. To do it we used always-on, data-driven insight to spot disruption within accounts – e.g. people movements, M&A activity, partnership and profit announcements; the collation of external data points such as IT spend or key contracts; and audience mapping and stakeholder insight, including personality profiling, to show people’s communication styles and preferences. That forensic level of examination gave us the level of detail required for our content outputs to be truly targeted and effective.

 

Q. What was it that made this work so special? Can you summarize the result?

Getting results is the point of it all – it’s why we get out of bed in the morning to do this stuff. But getting praise from a member of a sales team who took a while to become a convert is just as rewarding on a personal level. To have a former sceptic say he wouldn’t even consider going to market without an ABM strategy in place is the feedback I want to hear.

 

Q. In hindsight — is there anything you would have done differently?

No!

 

Q. What was the biggest take away/key learning for you and your team in this experience that will influence your team’s approach going forward?

The key takeaway is a point I alluded to earlier: it takes time to build a successful ABM program. We need to be crystal clear with our clients about this up front, and they need to adjust the ROI metrics by which they are judged internally to take in these longer horizons.

 

Q. What’s ahead for you in 2020?

Harnessing more data points, going deeper into our account research, testing and re-testing our content outputs to make sure they’re hitting the mark, and, hopefully, more success.


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