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Let’s talk ABM: 6 ways to build credibility with ABM

In a recent episode of Let's talk ABM, we spoke with Kathryn Nimmo, ABM Marketing Manager at HP, about building credibility with ABM. Here are the key takeaways.

Measurement   |   Strategy   |   ABM

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Declan Mulkeen

strategicabm 550 60

May 28 2024 - 9min Read Date published: Date modified: 2024-06-06


Credibility? That someone believes or trusts you. 

Credibility is arguably the most valuable currency for any business. 

If your customers (current and future) trust and believe in you - everything else follows: profitable relationships, loyal customers, and advocates for life. 

But trust has to be earned. Credibility has to be established. 

In a recent episode of Let’s talk ABM, we had the pleasure of speaking with Kathryn Nimmo, ABM Marketing Manager at HP, about embracing creativity, thought leadership, and empathy to build credibility through ABM.

In the interview (full recording here) we discussed:

  • How ABM is used for perception and brand awareness
  • How Subject Matter Experts are your secret weapon
  • Why Sales experience is pivotal to ABM
  • Why storytelling unlocks ABM accounts

So let’s take a look at some of Kathryn’s top tips and tricks.

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6 ways to build credibility with ABM

1. Harnessing the power of Subject Matter Experts

Trust is the currency of business, and it’s not easily earned. Your audience is astute, with a keen sense for detecting sales pitches. The key to gaining their confidence? Offer genuine value over a hard sell.

Your Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) are the ace up your sleeve. When they take center stage - be it on social media or in direct interactions with your customers (or prospects) - they don’t just represent your organization; they personify it, forging authentic connections.
Prioritize sharing insightful content that not only informs but also establishes your credibility and nurtures trust. This strategic approach is the cornerstone for cultivating enduring and impactful relationships.

“I would say first and foremost it’s gett

ing that foot through the door with our clients. We have lots of great Subject Matter Experts in the security field. So we're doing a lot more to raise the visibility of our world-class security solutions.” - Kathryn Nimmo, ABM Marketing Manager at HP

2. Embrace a Sales Mindset

Marketers are renowned for their creativity, collaboration, and strategic acumen. Salespeople excel in human connections, wielding empathy and clarity that draw people in.

For your ABM program to thrive, it’s essential to harness both these qualities.

Credibility isn’t solely about impressing your target accounts; it’s equally crucial to foster this trust within your own teams, particularly among Sales teams.

Many accomplished ABM practitioners hail from Sales backgrounds, attuned to the nuances of the Sales mindset. This alignment simplifies internal collaboration, accelerates buy-in, and underscores the importance of leading with empathy.

Reflect on how ABM can streamline the Sales process. Whether it’s scheduling more meetings, enhancing opportunity quality, or equipping salespeople with impactful content.

Remember: ABM and Sales are two sides of the same coin, and a Sales-centric approach is indispensable.

“I like to think, coming from a Sales background, I have a more human empathy when it comes to having conversations with Sales. I can talk to them one-to-one. I don't give them the sales pitch. I just say, how can I help you? What can I do to make your life easier right now?” - Kathryn Nimmo, ABM Marketing Manager at HP



3. Target the right accounts

The hallmark of an Account-based Marketing strategy lies in its precision targeting, a stark contrast to the more ‘wider net’ approach of other marketing disciplines. 

It’s a methodical quest to identify and engage your business’s ideal audience with unwavering focus.

Before you can captivate your audience, you must first identify who they are.

Selecting the right accounts is not just a foundational step in establishing your ABM program - it’s also instrumental in solidifying your organization’s credibility and the trust of your prospective accounts.

A hyper-personalized message, tailored to the unique needs and characteristics of your target accounts, will resonate profoundly, demonstrating your expertise far more effectively than any generic campaign could.

In collaboration with your Accounts and Sales teams, consider the following critical inquiries to guide your selection process:

  • What complexities define the account?
  • Are there sensitivities or nuances to be mindful of?
  • Is the account already within your customer base?
  • How likely are they to make a purchase?
  • What level of engagement have they exhibited with your brand?

Remember, the landscape of business is ever-evolving. Your account selection and prioritization should be dynamic, ready to adapt, and pivot in response to market shifts.

“It's a constant review process, constantly changing. Nothing's really set in stone with our program. We're very flexible. So it is a case of, actually, if one account isn't working, we'll move that one and bring another one in.” - Kathryn Nimmo, ABM Marketing Manager at HP

4. Elevate brand perception

In the realm of Account-based Marketing, three metrics stand paramount: Reputation, Relationships, and Revenue. 

While the C-suite’s eyes may be on Revenue, it’s the foundational Reputation that enables all else.

Your organization’s credibility is inextricably linked to its Reputation, making the focus on brand perception not just beneficial, but essential.

It’s a common pitfall to channel resources solely into accounts already engaged in deep conversations. 

The allure of nurturing and expanding high-value accounts is undeniable. 

However, there’s immense value in cultivating broader brand awareness and visibility - what HP dubs ‘Always-on Activation’.

Efforts to reforge your brand’s image, positioning it as a thought leader, market leader, industry expert, and trusted partner, are investments in the future. Such initiatives bolster engagement and can unearth new opportunities.

ABM is a strategic long game, where sometimes the most significant gains come from bypassing the allure of immediate victories.

“By creating thought leadership material rather than product promotion, I think people will see us as more credible. They've got that firsthand experience. They see that we’ve got experts who are very knowledgeable talking about how we can help them.” - Kathryn Nimmo, ABM Marketing Manager at HP

5. Tell a story

Did you know that a staggering 65% of individuals are visual learners? 

In the realm of Account-based Marketing, this means transcending the clutter requires more than just words—it demands a vivid narrative.

At HP, Kathryn emphasizes that their strategy revolves around storytelling. 
This principle applies not only to external communications with target accounts but also internally to galvanize support.

Internally, the key is to harness case studies, success stories, and strategic ABM playbooks to ignite enthusiasm for the ABM program. 

Kathryn explains “if they can see that from a visual perspective, it makes it so much easier to explain what we're trying to achieve.”

For account engagement, the mantra is simple: eschew jargon, acronyms, and overt salesmanship. Lead with the essence of your story. Shift from corporate speak to inventive, relatable content that resonates on a human level, illustrating the outcomes you’re committed to delivering.

“Sometimes we just overcomplicate things. So I think by telling stories and humanizing everything, we just make it so much easier for people to understand what we're trying to achieve and they're more likely to be bought into what we're doing.” - Kathryn Nimmo, ABM Marketing Manager at HP

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6. Become a trusted partner

To truly stand out, shift your focus from the transaction to the transformation - become a strategic ally to your target accounts.
Account-based Marketing (ABM) thrives on nurturing enduring, high-value relationships. It’s a continuous collaboration, offering myriad opportunities for cross-selling, upselling, and mutual growth.

Trust is the cornerstone of any partnership. Your target accounts must view you not just as a vendor, but as a trusted advisor.

Achieving this status starts with attention to detail.

Invest time in understanding the aspirations and principles that drive your target accounts. What are their core objectives? By grasping these nuances, you can craft bespoke experiences that resonate deeply, showcasing your commitment as a partner.

“It's those little things that actually are a really big thing to customers. Taking the time to understand them, taking the time to know what makes them tick. And then when you're having a conversation with them, they feel that you actually really know them. You're not just another supplier. You actually care about what they're trying to achieve.” - Kathryn Nimmo, ABM Marketing Manager at HP

There you have it - Kathryn’s top tips for establishing a credible, trusted reputation through ABM. 

Hungry for more? Check out some of the other interviews from our Let’s talk ABM series, where we put ABM experts in the hot seat to uncover their key learnings and insights.

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