ABM Thought Leadership: Jon Clarke on Intent-Driven, Intelligent ABM

Written by Alex Embling

Nov 13 2018

Strategic's CEO Alex Embling speaks to Jon Clarke, CEO of Cyance; a B2B customer buying intent platform, to discuss tips for starting ABM, and why intent data should be an important consideration.

What is Intent-Driven, Intelligent ABM?

Below, Strategic's CEO Alex Embling speaks to Jon Clarke, CEO of Cyance; a B2B customer buying intent platform, to discuss tips for starting ABM, why intent data should be an important consideration in ABM.

Interview Transcript

AE: So what would you believe the major, starting points are for considering account-based marketing generally? Is it just looking at an increasing level of engagement? When should you run an account based marketing campaign from your perspective?

JC: Well, I think there's a number of factors you need to consider before you embark on an ABM campaign and I think you have to look inside the organisation; are you ready for it? Is the culture there? Have you got the leadership and sponsorship? Because in most cases, ABM by definition is taking a go-to-market approach in a very different way to perhaps what most organisations have been used to, where it's very much volume based. It's not to say that [ABM will] replace the volume based activity, but clearly it takes time, effort and cost - you've got to mobilise lots of different stakeholders across the business. There's a lot of consideration around data, insights, technology.

Before you embark on an ABM campaign and I think you have to look inside the organisation; are you ready for it? Is the culture there? Have you got the leadership and sponsorship?

It's [ABM] not necessarily something where you can just kind of press a button, and out comes all the value out the other end. You've got a number of things you've got to do and you need leadership to buy into that, the culture needs to be there. Not least, the fact that you need to be clear on the relationship between marketing and sales. Depending on what your flavour of ABM is, of course from the purest form of 1-to-1, through to, maybe one-to-more, or marketing to accounts. In either of those two scenarios, you need to have a degree of alignment and cooperation between marketing and sales. So what's that relationship like? Are marketing and sales able to achieve the necessary fundamentals in order to make an ABM initiative work? And then, do you have the content, the people skills, the technology, the tools to be able to execute? 

Related: Using Buying Intent To Transform Marketing and Sales

And that's for me, where there needs to be an honest decision on 'How ready are you for ABM?'. But it's not to say you shouldn't consider it if you've not done it before, because it's absolutely the right thing to do. Particularly in the modern world, post-GDPR, with the fact that buyers are no longer listening to poorly-timed messages. So it's really important that most organisations consider this approach augmenting what they're already doing. But you need to understand the steps they need to go through at the same time.

And this is why we would always recommend that most; apart from the odd exception - the likes of Oracle and O2's of this world who have big teams, lots of resources behind them and can hire the very best people very easily because they've got that brand cachet; for most mere mortals, you probably want to be working with an agency that can help you to accelerate through that learning. De-risk as well, by doing something new with agencies that have got that experience and have worked out what works, what doesn't, and have a framework to help you to execute. But [working with an agency will] de-risk it [ABM] also from your perspective so that you can quickly get to a point of demonstrating some kind of value. And having clear objectives around what success looks like from the outset I think is really important.

You probably want to be working with an agency that can help you to accelerate through that learning. De-risk as well, by doing something new with agencies that have got that experience and have worked out what works, what doesn't, and have a framework to help you to execute.

AE: We've [Strategic and Cyance] got this event 'Intent Driven, Intelligent ABM' on the 14th November, which we're really looking forward to at Browns in London. So, what are you going to be discussing next week in that session?

Related: Marketing With Intent Data: Add Context, Timing And Relevance To Campaigns

JC: Well, I think that firstly, just helping everybody to understand what the opportunity [intent driven ABM] is, the opportunity is great. But at the same time, you have to be pragmatic and realistic in terms of what it takes to deliver ABM and deliver it well; whatever flavour of ABM is appropriate for, any organisation. But also help people to understand not only the steps you need to take, but the opportunity from using behavioural insights, customer behavioural insights to be able to fuel outstanding performance-based marketing or account-based marketing, and how you can really get ahead of the game and understand how best to prioritise your addressable market; understand who is active in that market and use those insights to tailor your approach. And that really gives you a significant headstart above any other typical techniques that you may have deployed in the past whereby you just say, "Well, we want to do business with these customers, we're going to outreach them and hopefully someone will respond". There are ways and means, tools and techniques and insights now, that can be used to really supercharge any form of account-based marketing really and deliver some fantastic results.

Related: 6 Considerations For Marketing With Buying Intent

AE: Great. We've got some great attendance coming next week, some great businesses, some senior marketers from a lot of great B2B brands. What are the key takeaways you hope these guys are going to leave the session with next week?

JC: Well firstly, I hope they get a real vigour and appetite for ABM and all things ABM, and get really excited by the fact that its a really great way to go to market to generate value in their respective organisations. But also gain a real understanding of the steps you need to take in order to execute ABM in a great way. I think there are some great examples now that are starting to come out across the industry. We are still in an early adopter marketplace, but it's rapidly maturing. So there are lots of insights that I will hopefully be able to share with people that come to the event; around what great looks like, how to execute really well and really, how to deliver ABM that's going to make it a successful investment.

We are still in an early adopter marketplace [with intent-driven ABM], but it's rapidly maturing.

AE: Great, well we're really looking forward to the event. And obviously, anyone who wants to sign up, we've got a couple of tickets left. The time is 9:00 on Tuesday 14th November at Browns Brasserie at St Martins Lane in London.

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