Fortunate enough to listen to the anecdotal experience of expert ABM practitioner David Cotterill from Conduent at the B2B Marketing ABM conference yesterday. ABM is one of the most widely discussed topics in the B2B sales market - and for good reason. Organisations embracing and implementing it correctly are seeing huge returns from both a financial and brand perspective.

In his session, David highlighted his 10 most important lessons that could mean the difference between success and failure of an ABM implementation and the process he undertook with his organisation to identify the right accounts, connecting with them and ultimately selling to them. 

If you ever questioned whether ABM programme was worth the time and effort...David's team have helped Conduent bring in deals worth tens of $millions.

His 10 steps to success:

  1. Space - make space in your business and budget.
  2. Data - "Insight rocks" so build a data platform. Conduent used this data to identify 8 1-2-1, 40 1-2-few and 102 1-2-many account targets for their ABM programme.
  3. Tools - make sure you have the right tools in your tech stack to deliver seamless communication and measurement.
  4. It's in the detail - looking really hard at your target companies, Conduent performed Empathy Mapping to form the basis for their 1-2-few activity, go the extra mile.
  5. A cutting edge matters - the more focused and creative you are with your content, the more you will activate your key target contacts.
  6. Modernise - identify what content your clients are already consuming, tailor your messaging accordingly and amplify this with your next message.
  7. Cast your net - Here David gave an analogy of the wily fisherman going to his productive secret spot. He urged the audience to think about the influencer at a prospect and explained that in todays world, it is no longer about a DMU, its now a Decision Making UNIVERSE.
  8. Close is not close enough - companies can no longer spray and pray when it comes to marketing, it's all about the detail and providing highly relevant and targeted messages.
  9. Measure Performance - a common theme at the event and one that can be difficult for many organisations. However if ABM is to be embraced within your wider business, David advised you build a "Brag book" to get stakeholder engagement and adoption. There were some cautionary words also in that you shouldn't over analyse and try and focus on some obvious outcomes.
  10. It's a way of life - for ABM to truly work marketing teams have to embrace change as the market is changing. If executed well, as with Conduent, it can enable organisations to build a long term pipeline of profitable business.

David also talked through the need for many organisations to have an expert external support team from tech to PR. Choosing experts that really understand your business, your clients/prospects and their respective markets will go a long way to making your ABM activity far more effective and deliver the results to gain momentum with internal stake holders.

Many of David's points were echoed throughout the day and if you think ABM is for you, the whole of your organisation from the exec to sales has to fully embrace it. The key to making it really work is to ensure sales and marketing work hand in glove as the knowledge share has to go both ways for it it to be truly effective.