ABM: Australia & New Zealand have a way to go to catch up.

Unhappy young woman sitting at her desk

In the world of Marketing Automation, Account-Based Marketing is a buzz word. However it seems Australian & New Zealand marketers haven’t quite caught on to the idea, at least from what we can see below from Google Trends. There’s isn’t even enough search data to show anything according to Google. So, what’s the problem?

Google Trends is a great tool for Marketers, it’s helpful in a range of ways. The result shown above (bottom image)  is the same for New Zealand as it is for Australia. Visit Google Trends to discover for yourself.

What is Account-Based Marketing?

We covered the answer to that question in a previous blog post from late 2016.

Click here to access that blog post, it’s titled “Tips for Beginners: Account-Based Marketing

What is the problem, why aren’t we joining the ‘ABM’ bandwagon?

In their 2016 white paper, Account-Based Marketing Guide for Modern Marketing, Oracle Marketing Cloud in partnership with Leadspace outlined the following as the fundamentals of ABM:

  1. ABM treats all accounts as a market of one.
  2. ABM is personalised to individual decision makers.
  3. ABM is personalised to customer needs.
  4. ABM forces marketing alignment.
  5. ABM forces sales and marketing alignment.

The reason ABM has reached peak popularity is that technology and resources have allowed us to scale in new ways.

—Craig Rosenberg, TOPO

Perhaps it’s these fundamentals that are part of the problem

Treating all accounts as a market of one means personalising the experience so that they feel they are an exclusive or highly valued customer of yours. For some organisations, accessing this data can be problematic.

In the absence of a source of truth for much of this data, ABM quickly becomes a challenge. If your organisation can’t go to the CRM and immediately source of list of “Named Accounts”, that’s the first problem.

The CRM should also enable the marketing team to understand who the decision makers are through simple segmentation. The premise presented in the white paper is that the decision makers will vary from opportunity to opportunity.

With Account Based Marketing typically employed for large scale enterprise clients, size may also be an inhibitor in our local markets.

Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) are essentially mid-market in size when compared to the US and Western European geographies. It’s been my experience in the A/NZ B2B landscape however, that decision makers are generally the same people from one opportunity to another.

While stakeholders may vary in an account, the decision makers often end up being the same people.

A modified approach may be the answer for A/NZ

If we stay focussed on the fundamentals from our North American friends, we can add a little ‘Down Under‘ flavour to modify the approach.

Let’s take “ABM treats all accounts as a market of one” as a case in point.

Over the past 20 years I’ve worked with outstanding and professional sales people. I’ve sat in account planning meetings where we’ve developed account based plans, most using the “Enterprise Selling Process” from OnTarget*.

While everyone in Australia wants, and most claim, Telstra as a client – they’re probably as big as it gets next to state or federal government. These could be claimed as “enterprise” level accounts on par with some US sized accounts.

However, most are not and they will have a key group of executives or decision makers you will want to target.

Step 1: Define your message

As you define your message for your Account-Based Marketing campaign, you need to understand if this is a “once-off” or “always-on” campaign. That decision will shape your content and the language you use.

Always-On:

These campaigns are general in nature and more often informational. It could be a welcome/on-boarding campaign. It would generally not contain specific dates and could run over a 3 month period and be active for 12+ months. 

As with all campaigns, the information needs to add value and contain specific calls to action.

Once-Off:

These campaigns are generally more specific in nature. For example, in the finance industry you might develop an Account-Based Marketing campaign in the lead up to the end of the financial year. It may serve to provide your audience with specific services you provide and remind customers of the many and varied ways you can help them.

Both of these campaigns should contain personalisation e.g. the basics like the the person’s name, mention their company name but also use functional aspects of Eloqua like dynamic content to tailor images and body copy that relates to multiple contacts.

Once you have your messaging locked in, then you can build your audience/segment.

Step 2: Build your audience

This process should largely be dependant on your CRM data. For example, do you have a contact at the account level who is the designated “Key Executive Contact”. How you define this person will vary, but for the purposes of this blog post the Key Executive Contact should be your “sponsor” and potentially your “approver”.

With platforms like Oracle Marketing Cloud Eloqua, marketers can use Segmentation to source the right people from the CRM Account and/or Opportunity object. Most CRM platforms will allow you to associate contacts with an opportunity and identify their “role” in the context of that opportunity.

Step 3: This is where we approach Account-Based Marketing a little differently.

For larger enterprises, building a campaign that could potentially only have an audience of 6-10 key contacts within an account may be justified by the potential ROI.

For many however, the amount of time required to build and execute this type of a campaign would be hard to justify. Using functional areas of Eloqua like Dynamic Content, Signatures (i.e. emails from the account owner) and the intelligence of the Campaign Canvas, we can create an experience that looks and feels like it was designed for a single account.

In Summary

While A/NZ may require a modified approach to Account Based Marketing, overall the technique is relevant if you’re marketing to the market’s large scale organisations.

If ABM comes up within your organisation, be prepared for some robust discussion and ensure you have your CRM and Eloqua (or other Marketing Automation platform) administrators in the room. You’ll also want your key account managers and content marketing team involved.

Define your message, what is your objective as you embark on an Account-Based Marketing campaign?

Develop a clear list of data you need access to from the CRM from within your Marketing Automation platform. Excel downloads and uploads won’t cut it given the likely complex nature of these campaigns.

Are you using Eloqua and need some help?