Account-Based Marketing (ABM) has been capturing the attention of B2B marketers, as programs increasingly achieve momentum and deliver strong ROI.
More recently, Account-Based strategy has become more sophisticated, with technology giving organisations access to real-time data and insights. This change has shifted the focus from creating a marketing practice to creating a holistic experience for target accounts. Accurately described as Account-Based Experience (ABX), this go-to-market strategy aims to engage accounts over the buying cycle with an orchestrated and personalised program.
I wanted to learn more about organisations that were innovating and leading with Account-Based Experience, so I set out to find some great examples.
In my research, I found that leading program owners acknowledged the importance of aligning the sales and marketing teams. Each program prioritised best accounts, based on a jointly approved Ideal Customer Profile, employed technology to deepen knowledge of buyer behaviour and made data-driven decisions.
These factors created personalised account experiences and consistently delivered outstanding results.
Following are four case studies of successful programs that I think are worth knowing about.
The cyber security market was responding positively to the newly implemented Get Cyber Resilient content hub and program. The analytics team at Mimecast identified mid-funnel blockage when quality leads were handed over to sales. This was the start of Mimecast’s Account-Based Everything (ABE) approach to achieving business growth.
Mimecast’s Senior Marketing Director APAC, Daniel McDermott, explains how he embarked on an account-based strategy by identifying clear objectives to solve the business’s challenges. Mimecast set out to secure more enterprise accounts and improve the conversion of new accounts.
Sales and Marketing roles were redesigned for a better business flow to provide greater insight into account activity. With weekly orchestration meetings, the strategic approach gave the Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) and Sales Executive teams more visibility and ownership of the go-to-market strategy and customer journey. McDermott says, “one of the biggest wins from our ABE program was the optimisation and collaboration between Sales and Marketing teams.”
Mimecast shifted from focusing on individual leads to the whole buying party. They sought to understand the pain points of the personas within the buying party, and built a value proposition and messaging framework. Customer journey maps were created for the enterprise-buying party, aligning content to the buyer’s pain points. This approach is credited for a 75% uplift in buying-party member engagement.
Integrating ABM technology with their CRM, the Mimecast marketing team profiled and prioritised accounts within their ICP that were showing intent. Utilising the account insights, Mimecast reduced selling time and secured new accounts that were not previously on the radar. The ABE program has achieved a 170% YTD pipeline target and a 60% average deal value uplift for marketing-sourced ABM opportunities.
McDermott shares that the process for the ABE program is constantly evolving. From the planning stage, engaging stakeholders, implementation and orchestration, the team continues to refine and readjust results. A test-and-learn attitude will continue to be critical to their success.
Korn Ferry is a global organisational consulting firm helping clients across 50 countries design optimal organisation structures, roles, and responsibilities. With multiple product solutions serving a central group of clients, the Korn Ferry team recognised that an account-first experience was essential to deliver value to their clients. An account-based strategy supported by multiple tech platforms was sought to deliver scale and sustainable growth.
Moving from a traditional marketing methodology to an account-based model required multi-stakeholder engagement.
“Being able to align marketing, sales and sales success teams to take an account focus was a significant achievement and required executive sponsorship, setting up a dedicated ABM team with marketing support and a regular cadence with sellers.”
– Malte Weyhe, Korn Ferry’s Director of Global Field Marketing and Head of ABM
To better understand the pain points and drivers of target buyers, in-depth interviews were conducted with clients. These conversations revealed insights about the varying responsibilities of buyers across the buying cycle. Persona profiles were created with detailed customer-centric message frameworks that captured primary buyer motivations. Buyer journey maps were developed with custom content mapped across each stage. Personalised content was developed and deployed over several channels relevant to the buyer. Reporting dashboards tracked engagement by account and by channel.
By utilising intent platforms, Korn Ferry was able to enhance its account intelligence and identify customers who met their ICP and were currently in-market (actively in the buying stage). Utilising real-time insights, Korn Ferry sellers and Lead Management representatives worked together to engage clients in a meaningful way.
Within six months of implementing the program, Korn Ferry achieved a 4x times increase in target account engagement to an average of 23% and is tracking an uplift in meetings booked and ABM attributed pipeline. By personalising messaging to different buyer needs, the ABM program directly influenced 36 opportunities with CHRO and Talent Acquisition Leaders, and influenced 21 opportunities with Procurement leaders (this group has a higher average deal). The overall program has delivered a 10x ROI on program investment.
The Korn Ferry team has successfully built the foundations of a strong ABM program and is ontinuing to optimise and build on learnings. Weyhe says, “utilising real-time intelligence coupled with the sellers’ knowledge of each account, our teams have never been more equipped to deliver value to key accounts”.
Snowflake, a cloud-based data warehouse provider that enables organisations to be data-driven, has achieved significant growth with its leading product. While most ABM initiatives are often initiated by marketing teams, Snowflake’s ABM efforts began with the sales team looking to continue their early successes.
The ABM team was tasked with improving the engagement of more than 2,500 accounts to accelerate the customer journey for sellers. With proven success with the account-based strategy, the Snowflake team expanded to a three-tier strategy, with varied ‘touch’ from sales and sales enablement teams to win new business, grow existing accounts and cross-sell. Account selection is critical for each tier, with the programs running from three months to 12 months.
The challenge with any ABM program is bringing teams together with a single view of an account. Snowflake’s Director of Account-Based Marketing, Hillary Carpio, says that the revenue teams successfully created synergies across almost 20 account-marketers: supporting 200-plus field sellers across enterprise and Fortune 1000 accounts.
Snowflake orchestrated a range of tech platforms to create personalised account experiences based on stakeholder pain points, topics of interest shared with sellers, and the challenges commonly affecting account verticals. Importantly, the sales team was critical to the process by collecting details through conversations and storing them in Salesforce CRM. This data, combined with several other data points, were used to create the personalised content hubs.
Carpio reports increased target account engagement with personalised pages by 60% through hyper-personalisation across funnel stages and industries at scale. They have also multiplied the outbound meeting rate in top accounts by 3x through their integrated ABM/SDR quarterly program, achieving a 25% meeting rate repeated quarter over quarter.
Being sales-led and ultimately serving the sales team to help them solve their problems is the key to their ABM success.
Sales Readiness Platform Mindtickle delivers onboarding, product training, coaching and ongoing readiness. The product helps fast-growing companies to prepare their sales teams and partners in a scalable and effective way. Mindtickle was operating on a traditional lead-based approach but realised it needed to shift its mindset towards a more data-driven, account-based practice. This was altered so that they could meet their year-on-year revenue targets, successfully uncover new opportunities and engage the correct accounts at the right time.
Adopting an account-based model required a fundamental shift in Mindtickle’s approach. They no longer score leads or track MQLs.
Like many other organisations that have implemented successful ABM programs, Mindtickle’s VP of Marketing Lisa Sharapata recognised the importance of 1) aligning the Marketing and Sales teams, 2) implementing the right technology, and 3) making data-driven decisions.
Once the sales, marketing and growth teams shifted their approach and became aligned, they were able to gain a clear understanding of their target audience through key account insights and define their Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).
The Mindtickle team created personalised content tailored to the needs of the target account and automated the messaging to be delivered at the right time. Taking an always-on approach to targeting key accounts helped to move accounts across funnel stages. Dashboards were set up to track and measure account engagement progress.
Within the first quarter of being in the market, the Mindtickle team saw over $1m additional pipeline and accounts in the 1:1 ABM program have shown 15x were more likely to establish an opportunity with Mindtickle.
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