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Let's talk ABM: 5 ways to create WOW moments with ABM

In a recent episode of Let's talk ABM, we spoke with Andrew Watkins, Top Account Field Marketing Lead at IBM, about creating WOW moments with ABM. Here we summarize the key takeaways.

Creativity   |   ABM

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Brenen Nortje

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Oct 31 2023 - 7min Read Date published: Date modified: 2023-10-31

As humans, we like to be entertained.

Being entertained elicits a chemical reaction in our brain that puts us in a happy place, where we feel comfortable with a subject – even drawn to it.

The customer experience in ABM is no different. 

Creating moments that WOW buyers generates traction with your audience, and opens doors to start conversations that can lead to meaningful relationships.

‘WOW moments’ are also effective at steering the conversation towards real value, rather than just short-term gains. 

In a recent episode of Let’s talk ABM, Andrew Watkins, Top Account Field Marketing Lead at IBM, let us in on some of the ‘WOW moments’ he and his team have created, and the magic they’ve worked.

In the interview (full recording here), we discussed:

  • Making the intangible tangible
  • The freedom of trial and error in ABM
  • Aligning Marketing and Sales
  • How nobody does ABM the same way
  • The importance of taking your time

So, let’s wade into Andrew’s world and learn how the ABM team at IBM creates WOW moments in their campaigns.

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5 ways to create WOW moments with ABM

1. Making the intangible tangible

Getting customers to see the value of your product/solution can be a major challenge for ABMers. 

Creating an experience that converts the intangible into tangible delivers a real breakthrough moment, as the customers get the opportunity to ‘touch’ the value first-hand. 

Immersing the client in a virtual world can bridge the divide between something that is talked about... to an experience that puts the solution in the customer’s hands (so to speak). 

The authenticity of the solution is brought a lot closer, and the customer begins to envisage the value at work. 

There are many innovative ways to make your solution’s value as real as possible and create WOW moments for your customer.

"Being able to take a physical experience, and using the Metaverse, allow our customers to see everything as though they were really there – it's just fantastic to be able to do.” – Andrew Watkins, Top Account Field Marketing Lead at IBM

2. Embrace trial and error

ABM is different to any other Marketing out there, because you have the freedom to test, fail, learn fast and adapt. 

This approach is wonderful for reducing waste and honing in on relevant messaging that gets real traction with your target audience. 

The beauty of trial and error is that, through early discovery of what does and doesn’t resonate, you can focus on content that strikes a chord with people.

This will enable you to show empathy and build increasing relevance – both of which will go a long way to developing trust.

Because, as we know, people don’t buy from people they don’t trust.

“It's the freedom that you get with Account-based Marketing that I've not experienced in my previous 13 years in different Marketing roles.” – Andrew Watkins, Top Account Field Marketing Lead at IBM

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3. Align Sales and Marketing

This is Account-based Marketing symbiosis, and as Jack Rawlings (Head of ABM, strategicabm) always says: “ABM is not ABM without Sales”.

Sales teams are at the coalface of customer contact. They’re in the direct feedback loop as to what the DMUs (Decision Making Units) are struggling with, and what they’re looking for in a solution.

Take the time to come together and see the ABM campaign objective as one common goal that’ll benefit the whole organization over the long term. 

Understanding the strengths of the solution they’re selling and the customer’s needs, it’s fair to say that Salespeople are in a strong position to add valuable insight into the development of an ABM campaign.

As the old African proverb says, If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’

This rings true for ABM as well – when Marketing and Sales align, you’re all pulling in one direction, and have your eyes on the same prize. 

“You need to take the time to ensure that Sales and Marketing are aligned. You need to define what that looks like, build yourself a flight plan and define what it looks like before you hit the ground running.” Andrew Watkins, Top Account Field Marketing Lead at IBM

4. Use your team's different talents to create electric experiences

It’s great to have a breadth of expertise, experience and perceptions in your ABM team – it produces fresh perspectives that allow the classic ABM principles to be expressed in a stand-out way.

Collaborate with your company’s talent. Create opportunities for this expertise to be shared with your audience, and you’ll soon be creating WOW moments that capture your audience’s attention. 

Nobody does ABM the same way. Bring what you’re good at into ABM and build, as well as learn from others.

Be the conductor and orchestrate an electric ABM experience. Start conversations that surpass speeds and feeds, and shine a light on long-term value. 

“The fact that you can bring to the fore what you are interested in, what you're good at, and actually build and learn from others, I think makes it really interesting.” – Andrew Watkins, Top Account Field Marketing Lead at IBM

5. Understand what your program really needs

Rush it and you’ll wreck it. This is one of the hardest parts of ABM.

It’s an easy mistake to want to implement a quickfire plan and see results immediately. 

But ABM works off trust, reputation and established relationships... and these all take time.

Allow yourself to learn the industry, deep dive into your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) and the people in it, understand their challenges and really feel what keeps them up at night. 

This doesn’t happen overnight. Patience is required and meaningful engagement is key.

It starts with the first of the Three Rs: Reputation. You need to connect with the account and display a dependable level of expertise that adds value. That way, they will always come to you as a first port of call.

As Andrew says: “Figure out where you can have the most impact and where you should be spending the most time and resources.”

The trick is realizing where best to apply your efforts - so that you will achieve that engagement and strengthen the relationship. 

Essentially, you need to build up a sense of empathy to unlock trust in your most valued accounts. And to achieve this authentically, without looking like you’re just in it for the sale, takes time.

“So, the hardest part is certainly taking the time to learn the industry... actually figure out where you can have the most impact and where you should be spending the time and resources.” - Andrew Watkins, Top Account Field Marketing Lead at IBM

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So, that’s how Andrew and his team create ‘ABM WOW moments’ for IBM – give it a go in your ABM campaigns. For more inspiration, check out the latest edition of DashDot, packed with ABM powerhacks and insights from industry experts.