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Let’s talk ABM: 8 ways to create true ABM Magic

In a recent episode of Let's talk ABM, we spoke with Laura Matthews, Director of Global ABM, EMEA at UiPath, about creating true 'ABM Magic'. Here are the key takeaways.


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Nicky Kemp

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Jun 23 2023 - 12min Read Date published: Date modified: 2023-08-07


They say “magic isn’t real”. We say, nonsense!

Magic, as defined by the Cambridge Dictionary, is “the use of special powers to make things happen that would usually be impossible.”

So, what is ABM if not magic?!

In this case, your special power is account intelligence, with a splash of empathy and a dash of compelling engagement added to the potent mix. 

The outcome? Long-lasting, meaningful relationships with your highest-value accounts.

Sounds pretty magical if you ask us!

In a recent episode of Let’s talk ABM, we had the pleasure of speaking with Laura Matthews, Director of Global ABM, EMEA at UiPath, about the secret to crafting truly spellbinding ABM experiences for target accounts, and how UiPath’s Accelerate Program helps them on their journey.

In the interview (full recording here) we discussed:

  • How to get Executive buy-in for ABM investment
  • An inside look at UiPath’s Accelerate Program
  • How to sprinkle 'ABM Magic' over your accounts
  • Why Laura feels her role is more Sales than Marketing

So, let’s dive into some of Laura’s top tips for true ABM Magic:

ABM readiness workshop

8 ways to create true 'ABM Magic'

1. Make every step bespoke

An Account-based strategy is special – it’s different from other Marketing strategies. It goes beyond ‘spray and pray’, wide-net demand-generation tactics. 

Everything about ABM screams unique, targeted, and bespoke. And that is exactly the experience you have to create for your target accounts if you want them to feel both understood and valued.

That means you need to be prepared to think outside the box. You can’t simply follow what’s trending, or copy and paste your approaches across accounts. Everything has to be highly customized.

And that’s where an ABM value proposition come in and works wonders.

It acts as your North Star, helping you hone in on exactly what your target accounts are interested in: their pain points, their goals, their hopes, their fears, and everything in between. 

It helps you get inside the head of your customers, and create content that resonates strongly with them.

A bespoke ABM value proposition is curated for each and every target account or program will help keep you on track and stop your messaging from veering off its intended path.

“We're making sure that our messaging is really specific to the account that we want to engage with. Then we're using this value proposition to create our messaging and our content, creating a bespoke kind of plan and making sure that everything is highly custom.” – Laura Matthews, Director of Global ABM, EMEA at UiPath 

2. Scale the magic!

Naturally, as your program evolves, you will be looking to adapt and refresh your strategy as you go. For many, this will mean scaling your efforts so you can touch more accounts at any one time.

Of course, for a highly customized, bespoke program, this is significantly easier said than done. How can you scale the program, without losing the magic that makes ABM so unique?

In short, you have to be prepared to adapt.

The level of personalization achieved at One-to-one simply won’t be attainable for a One-to-many program. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make the experience feel unique for larger audiences!

By splitting your accounts into clusters, you can still allow for personalization and relevance by targeting specific demographics, job titles, industries, or sub-industries – shaping your messaging and strategy around the pain points faced by those groups.

The beauty of ABM is that you hold all the cards. You are in complete control of how much time and dedication you invest into your program. And if ‘ABM Magic’ is your goal, then you need to put the time, money, and effort into bringing that to life – and so does your team!

For UiPath, this meant an ‘ABM on steroids’ program that fast-tracked the buy-in and return on investment of automation for customers – a little gem Laura’s team like to call the Accelerate Program. 

“We are thinking at the moment, how can we do ABM at scale? How can we potentially be taking all the different activities that we're doing – whether that's a roadshow, roundtable, a webinar for our growth products – and how can we make sure we help scale it and it's repurposable across the different accounts?” – Laura Matthews, Director of Global ABM, EMEA at UiPath 

3. Lean on account intelligence

True magic happens when you understand your target accounts – inside and out. You know them better than they know themselves: what keeps them up at night, what they want to achieve, their passions, their fears, and so on.

It’s that level of understanding and empathy that takes an ABM program from zero to hero.

So, how do you get there? It all lies in your account intelligence.

From third-party data platforms to your own internal account insights – account data should shape every aspect of how you speak to your audience. You’d be surprised how much insight you can squeeze out of your existing teams: your Salespeople are like your very own encyclopedia of account intelligence. Don’t waste that valuable insight!

Connecting with other departments across your organization, running workshops and regular check-ins to keep everyone informed – and ensuring every team has access to these golden nuggets of information – is crucial to a successful and seamless program.

Your ABM Core Message should form a messaging playbook that you can use as your guide throughout the program. It keeps messaging consistent, interconnects every stage of the buyer’s journey, and helps to keep you aligned with your target account’s key concerns.

Ultimately, your messaging should be able to answer one simple question: “So what?” As in: Why should your target account care? What’s in it for them? How will your product or service make their lives easier? 

And it’s your account intelligence that will help you answer in a way that directly resonates with their challenges. 

“We have a unique value proposition for every single account, and that playbook is like our North Star, for every single thing that we do. And I think it's so important because it helps the Center of Excellence and the business users take the conversation to a more strategic element, to tie it to business goals, to make them and their activities more relevant.” – Laura Matthews, Director of Global ABM, EMEA at UiPath


ABM Playbook

4. Understand that true magic takes time

If you’re familiar with fairytales, you know that the real magic never takes place at the beginning of the story. In fact, it usually saves its special appearance for the second half, as the characters gear up towards that happy ending we all love to see!

Your ABM program is no different. 

Genuinely magical account experiences can’t be whipped up overnight. They take time – they take dedication, investment, hard work, and even a few mistakes along the way. 

But, all those twists in the story only make the fairytale ending ever more sweet!

Realistically, your program will likely need a couple of years from launching to be at a point where you will see some consistent, reliable results coming in. Of course, you will certainly have some quick wins long before then – but the happy-ever-after won’t be attainable from the outset.

You need to give it time to mature – like a real magic potion. 

That’s not to say you can’t lay the right foundations to help support those outcomes for the long haul, however! And securing Executive buy-in will certainly set you on the right path for success.

So, align your objectives with your wider business goals and your go-to-market strategy, and ensure that your Leadership team is fully bought into the process. This is not a hurdle you want to be faced with further down the road, so if you can resolve it in the launching phase, you’ll be doing ‘future you’ a big favor! 

“If you do want to have an ABM program and you're thinking long-term and it's not short-term and reactive, you've got to invest from a funds perspective, people perspective, and program perspective.” – Laura Matthews, Director of Global ABM, EMEA at UiPath

5. Invest in the right tools

No amount of magic can make up for a poor tech stack! While technology is by no means the be-all and end-all of your ABM program, it certainly can make the ride significantly less bumpy.

However, the trick isn’t to just invest in every tool that becomes the latest hot topic. You need to invest wisely – only putting your dollars towards something that will really enhance your program and its delivery.

Our recommendation would be to invest in a few timeless, comprehensive tools that will become foundational within your stack. This means a reliable CRM platform, intent data, automation software, etc.

Of course, it’s easy to get distracted by whatever’s new and shiny! And by all means, if you have the budget to spare, experiment! 

We’ve certainly done our fair share of trialing new and trending tools – from the Metaverse to Generative AI – but what’s important is that you keep sight of the tools that you can’t live without.

Account intelligence tools are a great addition to your stack. Software such as Crystal Knows – which uses predictive data to help determine the personality types of your audience – and 6sense help to build a clearer picture of your target accounts, and their decision-making units. As a result, you’ll be better placed to build account experiences that really engage and resonate with key decision-makers.

6. Go straight to the source!

Sometimes, not even the flashiest of tools can offer the same level of insight and expertise as having a confab with your target account.

And that’s precisely what makes your Salespeople so well-informed – they’re in the trenches every day, face-to-face with your accounts, and the battles they’re confronted with. 

And it’s also what makes ABMers so unique...

It’s no secret that Account-based Marketing is not like other Marketing strategies. It’s more targeted, more data-driven, and more efficient. 

But that’s not all. It’s also unique because it’s not Marketing at all!

It’s so, so much more. It’s an amalgamation of Marketing, Sales, Customer Success, Demand Gen, Creative and Content, and everything in between. And as a result, the best ABMers aren’t just Marketers. They’re a hybrid between Marketing and Sales – keen to experiment with creativity, but equally eager to be on the frontlines with your Salespeople.

With ABM, your teams should be so aligned and inextricably linked that it’s difficult to see where one team ends and the other begins. It’s no longer about Marketing versus Sales – it’s an ABM function, all focused on one goal: landing and expanding your highest-value accounts.

Where Marketing may be used to working behind closed doors, ABM offers an opportunity to get your hands dirty, be more customer-facing, and get your insights straight from the source.

“I'm always like, ‘Do I want to work in Sales? Do I want to work in Marketing?’ So, I think that ABM is really appealing from that perspective, because you are so customer-facing.” – Laura Matthews, Director of Global ABM, EMEA at UiPath


Let's talk ABM

7. Live and breathe hyper-personalization

Anyone can add a first name placeholder to an email. That doesn’t make you stand out. And it certainly doesn’t count as personalization.

Proper ABM Magic comes from going above and beyond – with extreme attention to detail and a level of personalization that shows you not only understand the account, but that you care about them.

You want your target accounts to think: “Wow! Only XYZ company could have put this together!” That’s what ABM Magic is all about.

So, how do you go about achieving this? It’s all about the little things – knowing what your key decision-makers value, what their goals, passions and ambitions are, and using these to your advantage.

Say your target account is big on sustainability. You’d want to make sure that any events you are running, any gifts or direct mail pieces you send, etc. all tie into that. You need to show them that you not only did your research, but you also share their values.

Inclusivity is another major factor in creating ABM Magic. You want each and every person within the buying committee to feel included and understood. Empathy is the most powerful tool in your ABM arsenal – use it!

“It's extreme attention to detail and personalization. I would say it's really going above and beyond the level of personalization.” – Laura Matthews, Director of Global ABM, EMEA at UiPath

8. Don't stretch yourself too thin

ABM will take a village – and as such, the full weight of the strategy certainly can’t be shouldered by one ABM veteran! 

Of course, there are organizations with a one-person band when it comes to their ABM function. But they are by no means alone.

As an ABMer, you’ll be doing so much more than Marketing. From events to PR, to Sales, to roundtables, to content creation, to workshops, and even some Customer Advocacy – many people underestimate the full depth and breadth of an ABM program, and what it entails.

Stretch yourself too thin, though, and you could risk losing the sparkle that makes your ABM program truly magical! Don’t be afraid to lean on other teams to support you throughout the journey – every department should be bought in, and working towards your ABM goals. 

“The whole breadth and depth of things is actually very different, I feel, to Enterprise Marketing. And I think that is the misconception.” – Laura Matthews, Director of Global ABM, EMEA at UiPath

Keen to get in on the ABM magic act? Check out our monthly newsletter, DashDot, for the latest trends and insights, hot off the press. 

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