The Global ABM Conference houses the best of ABM knowledge in B2B. Last week we had the pleasure of welcoming hundreds of ABMers to learn from the best and brightest, covering everything from ABM during an economic downturn to inside looks at award-winning case studies and even delving inside your customers’ minds to find out what makes engaging content. B2B Marketing’s Lucy Gillman reflects on the day and what you missed out on.
We kicked the morning off with an invite only breakfast Q&A. Propolis members and other senior VIPs joined Jarmila Yu to discuss how ABMers can attract the right talent – the cornerstone to developing and deploying any successful ABM programme.
ABM’s codifier, Bev Burgess, then challenged delegates to throw what we (think we) know about ABM out the window, explaining how Pareto’s law applies to ABM on a fractal basis.
You can find out more about delivering sustainable, profitable ABM growth in her book, Account-based growth.
It comes as no surprise that the downturn dominated. Demandbase’s Jon Miller challenged us to work smart, not hard (with some self-proclaimed nerdy dad jokes for good measure) before our expert panel took a deep dive into the 2022 ABM Census – a survey of approximately 100 client-side marketers gaging their views on ABM.
Facing an economic recession, in the next 12 months 13% of survey respondents are planning to decrease their ABM investment. 46% aren’t changing their budget, whilst 41% are actively increasing investment.
What does this mean for marketers? “In a downturn, clients are naive if they think they won’t need to rely on experts,” ABM maestro Robert Norum added. “ABM marketers are like orchestra conductors – they don’t have to play all the instruments, but they need to know who and when to bring in at the right time.”
We rounded off the day with The Marketing Practice’s Alastair Hussain and ServiceNow’s Elise Miller on how ABM supports the drive to win the right kind of customer. They offered three pieces of sage advice to pay attention to:
Choose the account team, not the account. It sounds simple, but don’t forget that you get to pick the accounts. Choose the account teams that are really up for it. Needless to say, you’ll see better results.
- Find an internal champion. Seek out the Eric to your Ernie. This isn’t necessarily the obvious or most senior person, and it’s not always easy to find your twin ABM flame. But it’s the core to a strong ABM programme.
- Orchestrate around the customer. Create a smooth sailing experience for your customers. They may get passed from team to team, but they need to have a consistent experience. Make them the organising principle.
Carmen Simon rounded off the evening by bringing neuroscience into B2B – trust us, it’s not as scary as it sounds. Corporate Vision’s chief science officer took us through three evidence-based, practical guidelines that took delegates through how to keep your audiences’ attention and how to create engaging content that’ll actually work.
Her advice is clear: “Attention paves the way to memory, and memory paves the way to decision-making. Your content has to stand out to push your customers through the funnel and win that sale.”
Twogether’s Minaz Tejani walked us through their award-winning ABM campaign with Salesforce, demonstrating that to succeed in ABM, you need to put creativity, emotion and human connections at the heart of what you do.
We continued with the case studies as BlueBotic’s Matt Wade and Strategicabm’s Jack Rawlings took the stage. The pair outlined how BlueBotics headed up an ABM programme that saw £4m+ pipeline and £750,000+ closed-won sales from scratch – oh, and in less than three years, y’know, just for good measure.
Jack’s advice is clear – slow and steady wins the race: “Successful ABM isn’t about quick wins and easy channels. You need to go after long-term success and lay the foundation for trust.”
Olga Gregory from WSP gave us the four steps to managing ABM transformation through the lens of people – shaping your ABM team and educating stakeholders; processes – how to institutionalise ABM; impact – demonstrating the value of ABM; risks – identifying and managing areas of concern.
Her formula for success? ABM impact = people x processes – risks.
Sales alignment and enablement
We took a plunge into the Metaverse with Digital Radish’s Alexa Stone and Applaud’s Rachel James. The pair walked us through what memorable ABM moments look like, from the dos and don’ts to a stand-out campaign to how to (finally) get sales and marketing singing off the same hymn sheet. Delegates even got a taste of the Metaverse at their stand!
You can find out more about their session in a recent interview with Digital Radish’s managing director, Renaye Edwards, here.
CongiClick’s co-founder Helen Kensett talked us through how to sell more with your content. Her expert panel walked through how they’re building a sales focussed content strategy to increase demand from key accounts and drive sales during a recession.
There were (literally) no seats left in the house for Google’s head of strategic accounts, ABM, EMEA, Alice Clarke.
Alice challenged the view that ABM is all about the new, stressing the importance of leveraging ABM for existing customers, and talking us through the ins and outs of how Google adopts this approach to drive long-term growth – a strategy that no doubt will play to their advantage in the face of a looming recession.
The highlight for Alice bar being the most packed session of the day? “Being in a room where people actually know what ABM is! It’s so refreshing to be amongst talented ABMers and in a room packed with talent.” What more could you want?
Execution and experiences
ON24’s Gemma Christine and Demandbase’s Leanne Chescoe kicked things off with an insight-packed session on the tips and tricks to driving engagement with target accounts before ReallyB2B and Avanade walked us through a case study in setting up a successful ABM pilot.
“We really like the ability to share what we’ve learnt from the campaigns we’re running and be able to pass that information on to other people,” Charlie Nicholson, strategy director at ReallyB2B added. “ABM is constantly evolving, so it’s really important to go to events like this and learn what’s happening and actually be willing to talk to people candidly about what you do and don’t know so they can genuinely help you. That’s where we get the most value for ourselves and for our clients.”
Andrew Fitzgerald, head of ABM, Kyndryl, spilled the secrets behind building an ABM growth engine for a $19 billion startup. His advice was clear: “ABM isn’t golf. It’s not an individual sport. It’s a team sport. If you don’t recognise that, you won’t succeed.” We can’t give away all his wisdom here, so make sure you check out his session on-demand!
Our expert panel of judges at the B2B Marketing Awards discussed the shortlisted entries for ‘Best use of ABM’. If we take one thing away from their session, it’s that the standard of entries is high this year.
The biggest night in B2B is fast approaching. Get your glad rags on and join us on 16 November to celebrate the best and brightest in the industry. Hurry, we’re down to our last seats!
And for all you ABMers, we’ll see you next year.